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Author Topic: Is there any historical proof that any of the gods and goddesses from mythology....  (Read 1197 times)

PrincessKLS

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That they actually lived? I'm including Jesus too in this argument. There's not a lot of historical proof that Jesus Christ actually lived as a person and I would assume that if there were historical proof of other gods, goddesses, and prophets living in ancient history, Christians would have destroyed it. The basic propaganda against other deities used in Christianity is that everyone but Jesus/God was made up. I've heard that there was actual evidence that Buddha was real and even Mohammed but what about ancient deity from Greece, Rome, etc?
PrincessKLS

Scales

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Quote from: PrincessKLS;183592
That they actually lived? I'm including Jesus too in this argument. There's not a lot of historical proof that Jesus Christ actually lived as a person and I would assume that if there were historical proof of other gods, goddesses, and prophets living in ancient history, Christians would have destroyed it. The basic propaganda against other deities used in Christianity is that everyone but Jesus/God was made up. I've heard that there was actual evidence that Buddha was real and even Mohammed but what about ancient deity from Greece, Rome, etc?

 
You have to consider that generally, non-abrahamic deities (and usually Yhw as well, it's the prophets who were on earth significantly) aren't supposed to have 'lived' in the sense humans do, they live on a different place/plane (such as Asgard or above Olympus). The myths about them visiting humans are usually allegories, although that's not to say none are intended to be literal.

Also, I'd probably mainly blame the Library of Alexandria burning down pre-Christ for any lost records (thanks Caesar) more than Christians. Historically, Catholic (someone correct if I've messed up the denomination) monks transcribed and preserved old latin works.

RandallS

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Quote from: PrincessKLS;183592
That they actually lived? I'm including Jesus too in this argument. There's not a lot of historical proof that Jesus Christ actually lived as a person and I would assume that if there were historical proof of other gods, goddesses, and prophets living in ancient history, Christians would have destroyed it.

There's really very little proof-of-existence evidence for many historical figures. For example, there's about as much proof-of-existence evidence for Socrates as there is for Jesus: little to none. Most deities never were mortals to begin with so there naturally wouldn't be much evidence for their existence as a human.

Quote
The basic propaganda against other deities used in Christianity is that everyone but Jesus/God was made up. I've heard that there was actual evidence that Buddha was real and even Mohammed but what about ancient deity from Greece, Rome, etc?

Side Notes: Buddha isn't considered a deity by most Buddhists. No Muslim (except, perhaps, some Muslim heretics) considers Mohammad a deity.
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Scales

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Quote from: RandallS;183604
There's really very little proof-of-existence evidence for many historical figures. For example, there's about as much proof-of-existence evidence for Socrates as there is for Jesus: little to none. Most deities never were mortals to begin with so there naturally wouldn't be much evidence for their existence as a human.

 
This is some of what I was trying to say, but worded way better.

RecycledBenedict

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Quote from: PrincessKLS;183592
That they actually lived? I'm including Jesus too in this argument. There's not a lot of historical proof that Jesus Christ actually lived as a person...


You have to make a distinction between 'Jesus', as a character in literary works, such as the (later) canonical gospels and the Gnostic scriptures, and the historical 'Jesus'. The former were developed around the latter. There has been a lot of research going on in rather recent decades, and four points are basically agreed upon:

  • That Jesus existed
  • That he was baptised by John the Baptist
  • That he was crucified
  • And that otherwise nothing is known about him.


Take at look at E.P. Sander's Jesus and Judaism if you are interested to read more.

The canonical gospels doesn't deal with the historical Jesus. They rather describe what some Christians believed about Jesus 40-60 years after the time of Jesus. Similarly, the Gnostic gospels doesn't deal with the historical jesus. The rather describe what other (now unusual) Christians believed about Jesus 90-200 years after the time of Jesus. The oldest literary source mentioning Jesus is either St. Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians or St. Paul's letter to the Galatians, but they do not contain any biographical matter about Jesus. They deal with what St. Paul believed about Jesus.

The situation is far from unique, when it cames to persons who lived during Antiquity. The literary character 'Socrates' of Plato, the literary character 'Socrates' of Xenophon, and the literary Character 'Socrates' of Aristophanes differ considerably from each other, and probably does not give a good impression of how the historical Socrates was.

Quote from: PrincessKLS;183592
...and I would assume that if there were historical proof of other gods, goddesses, and prophets living in ancient history, Christians would have destroyed it.


As other forum users already have answered you, the classical deities were not generally supposed to have 'lived' in a historical sense at all (though the heroes were). One line of thought during Antiquity is an exception to my recent statement: The philosopher Euhemerus tried to solve a moral conundrum, by claiming that many of the myths in currency didn't tell about the gods and goddesses themselves, but about mortals who had been mistaken for the deities or given the deities' names posthumously as an act of veneration. By claiming that, Euhemerus sought to exonerate the deities from the accusation of behaving in an immoral and imperfect manner. The myth-collector Diodorus of Sicily adhered to Euhemerus view, and it informs Diodorus' myth-collection and history book Historiké Bibliothéké. The (hellenised) Egyptian historian Manetho and the (hellenised) Babylonian historian Berossus were also Euhemericists.

Other thinkers in Greece, Aleaxander's empire and the Roman Empire solved the same conundrum in other ways.

The thought of Euhemerus survived to later inform the Irish monks who gathered the Irish myth-collection Lebor Gabala Erenn, the anonymous bards who wrote the stories in the Welsh myth-collection Mabinogion, and the Icelandic 13th century poet Snorri Sturlasson, who wrote the poetry handbook The Edda, which contain Norse myths in an euhemerised form.

Quote from: PrincessKLS;183592
I've heard that there was actual evidence that Buddha was real and even Mohammed...

 
There are no written sources about Buddhism until the time of the Maurya emperor Ashoka (304-232 BCE). Buddhologists now date the birth of the historical Buddha to some time around 500-420 BCE and his parinirvana (death) to some time around 420-360 BCE. As you see, the margins are wide.

It is likely (but not indisputably so), that the short sutra-collections Sutta Nipata, Udana, Itivuttaka and Dhammapada (in their several translations) re-narrate what the historical Buddha taught. Other sutras/suttas may contain developments of themes in the historical Buddha's teachings, but, in the redacted shape they have come to us, they are influenced by later stages of development. Poetic segments are often older than prose segments.

No Buddhist sutra/sutta is preserved in Buddha's native language, which must have been a then-spoken colloquial language (prakrit) in what is Nepal today. Buddhist sutras were initially transmitted orally, and the transferrence of sutras into writing began about 100 BCE among Mahayana Buddhists and about 30 BCE among Theravada Buddhists. Written sutras are preserved in Pali - a language developed by Buddhists, for literary purposes, around 200-50 BCE out of colloquial languages in several parts of India, but mainly the western part. In the north-west, sutras were transmitted in a language called Gandhari, and the oldest preserved Buddhist sutra-manuscripts are written in Gandhari (and excavated in modern time). Some Buddhists - the Sarvastivadins - in the early Kushan Empire translated sutras into Sanskrit, but the proposed dates for this process are not sure: The reigns of the Kushan Emperors are notoriously hard to date with any certainty.

From a Moslem point of view, The Quran is eternal, but, from a historical point of view, the Quran testify the existence of a historical Mohammad, though without too many details about his life. The Hadith, which contain legends about Mohammad's life (always with a moral point), began to be collected in the 8th century (100 years after Mohammad's death) and were not fixed until the 9th century. As other users already have said: Please notice that Moslems (with the possible exception of Alawites) do not view Mohammad as a deity, rather as an ideal human being. Some Sufi Moslems, following Ibn Arabi, consider him to be a pre-existent human being: Al-Insan al-Kamil.

Louisvillian

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Quote from: PrincessKLS;183592
That they actually lived?

As said in the first response on the thread, the gods in most ancient mythological cycles weren't proposed to have "lived" on Earth as mortals do. Well, most of them anyway. They're figured as cosmic beings, and while the mythical "past" often depicts gods as mingling with mortals, that's usually more of an excursion for them than their normal, day-to-day "lives".

Now, heroes are a bit of a sticky wicket. Some are probably patterned after or based on real people that lived in the past. Many of which we presumed were just legendary. But some evidence from Near Eastern writings indicate that it is quite possible that Atreus and Agamemnon were real people, albeit highly fictionalised in mythological accounts. Which leads into this kettle of fish:

Quote
I'm including Jesus too in this argument

There is some written evidence that Jewish preacher with a name like that may have existed around the early 1st century CE. If the relevant passages aren't interpolations, he might've had a brother named James, been baptised by some other revolutionary preacher named John, and was probably executed by crucifixion. Outside of that, nothing is known from the historical record. The depiction of Jesus in the New Testament is just as mythological, then, as the depiction of Agamemnon in Homer's Iliad.

PrincessBurrito

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Quote from: PrincessKLS;183592
That they actually lived? I'm including Jesus too in this argument. There's not a lot of historical proof that Jesus Christ actually lived as a person and I would assume that if there were historical proof of other gods, goddesses, and prophets living in ancient history, Christians would have destroyed it. The basic propaganda against other deities used in Christianity is that everyone but Jesus/God was made up. I've heard that there was actual evidence that Buddha was real and even Mohammed but what about ancient deity from Greece, Rome, etc?

 
Not with the Norse Gods, BUT in the Prose Edda the gods are introduced as actual humans - warriors who left after the fall of Troy and settled in the North where they were seen as divine royalty. I'm unsure as to why it was written like that, there's no proof to suggest that's even remotely true. I know this totally doesn't answer your question, but it's interesting nevertheless :P

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Quote from: PrincessBurrito;184295
Not with the Norse Gods, BUT in the Prose Edda the gods are introduced as actual humans - warriors who left after the fall of Troy and settled in the North where they were seen as divine royalty. I'm unsure as to why it was written like that, there's no proof to suggest that's even remotely true.

 
Because that's how the Christian who wrote it wanted it to be written.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euhemerism#Snorri_Sturluson.27s_.22euhemerism.22
as the water grinds the stone
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