• April 21, 2024

Christianity and the summer solstice

From the below article at Examiner.com, it looks like somebody’s been reading my work. Except: “the sun mimics the death and resurrection of Jesus!” Is that what they teach at Harvard Divinity School, that the sun is mimicking Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ during the winter solstice? Couldn’t it be that the mythical Jesus’s “birthday” was placed at the winter solstice because he’s significantly a solar hero?

“But for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.”
Malachi 4:2

Nope, the living sun is evidently consciously imitating Jesus’s death and resurrection – and that’s why we have a winter solstice. Ditto with the summer solstice: The prescient sun knew that John the Baptist was going to be born at that time, so it imitated his birth.

In the meantime, the author’s got this part right: The enigmatic verse at John 3:30 quite likely reflects this mythological motif of the sun at the summer solstice losing its strength, while the “winter sun” gains in strength:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

It’s great to see someone in mainstream academia – with a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard University – confirm that this verse has astrotheological meaning: To wit, it represents the ancient concept of transition from the summer sun to the winter sun. This motif is exemplified in Egyptian mythology, which holds that the god Anubis – a decapitated figure who purifies or baptizes Horus/Osiris – was the personification of the summer solstice, while Osiris was the personification of the winter solstice. This ancient formula was simply copied into the gospel story.

What this fact/admission shows is that the gospel writers were conscious of solar mythology and of Jesus and John’s roles as solar heroes long before their births were placed formally on these days.

Also note that Doehring is recognizing here that the winter solstice represents not only the birth but also the death and resurrection of Jesus, which are likewise symbolic of the vernal equinox. As we know, mythical motifs often possess more than one meaning.

The summer solstice. Photo credit: Annie B. BondChristianity and the summer solstice
by William Doehring

The summer solstice, which occurs this year on Wednesday June 20, 2012 at 7:09 p.m. EDT, marks the exact time when the sun is furthest north in the sky, directly above the Tropic of Cancer. When it arrives this year, it will be especially important to some, as it marks six months until the winter solstice, which will occur on Dec. 21, 2012. Some believe that the end of the world will occur at this time. Though most scientists and archeologists believe they have debunked the doomsday theory, it still remains alive and well in popular culture and among Christians.

Though the summer solstice has not played a major role in the history of Christianity or Judaism, unaware to most, several summer solstice traditions have been passed down through the millennia. The most notable in Christianity, which occurs during the summer and winter solstices, are the births of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. According to tradition, John the Baptist’s birthday occurs on June 24th, which is the point when the sun visibly begins descent from its pinnacle during the summer solstice.

Similarly, the birthday of Jesus, which was set by early Roman Catholics on December 25th, marks a time of “rebirth,” as it is when the sun first visibly begins its ascent from its lowest point on the horizon, which occurred on December 21st, at the winter solstice. In essence, between the winter solstice and December 25th, the sun mimics the death and resurrection of Jesus, as it “dies” on December 21st, and remains at the lowest region in the sky for three days, and finally begins to visibly rise from the horizon on December 25th.

Likely, early Christians also appointed John the Baptists birthday to follow the same concept, in regard to the summer solstice. Believing that John the Baptist marked the “greatest pinnacle” of the Old Testament, early Christians likely set his birthday to follow the suns descent from its pinnacle. Thus, as John the Baptist’s “light” gave way to the Light of Jesus of Nazareth, so too the sun reaches its pinnacle at the summer solstice on June 20th -21st, and visibly begins its descent from that pinnacle on June 24th – 25th.

“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist” Matt. 11:11

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:6-9

“And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he (Jesus) is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’…He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:22-30

Further summer solstice traditions can be found within the Jewish faith, which would have been prominant during the birth of Christianity. According to ancient Jewish traditions, the summer solstice represents a paradox: maximum light and a turn toward darkness or loss. This has arisen through certain events, which are believed to have occurred during the summer solstice. One such tradition can be found within the Jewish text Sedar Olam. According to verse 11:1, the sun stood still for Joshua during the battle of Gibeon (Joshua 10:12) on the summer solstice. This tradition reveals the theme of “maximum light.” Adding to this tradition, the Latin term solstice literally means sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

A further ancient tradition, which reveals the theme of loss or a turn toward darkness, can be found in Jubilees 3:32. It states that Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden during the summer solstice. Along with their expulsion from the garden, animals were said to have lost their ability to communicate with humans at the same time. Thus, as we can see, though the summer solstice has not played a major role in the history of Christianity and Judaism, both systems have not remained free from the celestial event.

Further Reading

John the Baptist and Jesus’s Birthdays

Anpu the Purifier is John the Baptist?

Ancient Observatories Found Worldwide

20 thoughts on “Christianity and the summer solstice

  1. Someone actually believed the Sun was mimicking Jesus???
    This belief is absurd for two reasons:
    1)Solstices have nothing to do with the behaviour of the Sun. They occur because of Earth’s tilt and its orbit around the Sun.
    2)Because of the above reason, the only way solstices could “mimic” Jesus would be if, after his time, the Earth suddenly chose to alter its tilt and its orbit to make it coincide with Jesus’ death and resurrection.

    If these people genuinely believe that celestial bodies change their behaviour because of stuff happening to some guy about 2000 years ago, cause he was “the son of god”, then they are demonstrating ignorance on a truly immense scale.

    Of course, the more sensible explanation- that the death and resurrection of the Jesus character were made up to coincide with these celestial events that had already been going on since before humanity existed- would force these people to consider the possibility that Jesus was an entirely fictional character.

    1. Good points, Tartarus. What’s funny is remember how at Christmas time the Christians love to say Jesus is the reason for the season ….

      Christmas Hoax: Jesus is NOT the ‘Reason for the Season’ ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sYw13TJOE4[/url])

      1. Nice video. 🙂

        I find it rather strange how so many people still think Jesus is the reason for the season when the evidence for pre-Christian celebrations of what we now call “Christmas” is not only very strong, but also quite easy to find. Indeed even a casual study of ancient traditions would reveal info on many such celebrations.

  2. “then they are demonstrating ignorance on a truly immense scale”

    If you’d been raised in Southern Baptist fundamentalism like I was, you’d know that “immense” doesn’t even come close … :cheer:

  3. Allegories are not mysteries
    Anyone stupid enough to think that the celebration of Christmas in winter in the judeo Christian world was some clandestine hiding of a pre existing holiday is really lost. The entire point was to take something relatable, and old, and give it new meaning, and repurpose it. It was a European council, and European thought process with European designations and repurposement by a version of the pseudo judeo Christian establishment that had made a habit of repurposing old European non judeo Christian holidays and Jesusifyfing them. It wasn’t a really great point in European history, and certainly the dark ages were the highlight of theological perversions by the Catholic Church. That’s how Lutheranism got started, they were sick of it and wanted the purity of Christs teachings to get restored.

    As to the sun, light, and allegorical or poetic symbology in judeo Christian theology or scripture, it is a means if conveying a point to help someone understand a teaching or reference, as is done in many settings. Not unique to that belief system at all, it is done everywhere. From simple poetry to great divine teachings, poetry and symboligical references are common to our existence as human beings as a way to convey a point.

    1. Thank you. I’m not sure what you are trying to say in the rest of your comment, but I take exception with this remark:

      [quote]Anyone stupid enough to think that the celebration of Christmas in winter in the judeo Christian world was some clandestine hiding of a pre existing holiday is really lost. [/quote]
      There is nothing “stupid” or “lost” in acknowledging the fact that Christianity took over a pre-existing pagan holiday and reworked it.

      1. I disagree, the very tantrumed broad brushed phrasing says it all. It was not ” Christianity” it was, and for goodness sakes, learn what you’re attempting to discuss, a specific branch, Catholicism, and in that Roman Catholicism, busy selling indulgences, putting people on trial for nonsense left and right, and merging citystatepolitical structure into theocracies, starting with the first roman leader who did it, that made a habit of Jesusing up days and holidays with their own flair and repurposing. It was not “Christanity” is was a divergent group of that belief system, and its teachings that started and attempted to continue the practice in their jurisdiction. It was done no where else in the entire word except for where their specific group had a presence and influence. It has virtually zero to do with Christs teachings and true Christianity anymore that the multitude of repurposed festivals in several parts of Korea, china, or Asia have to do with Buddhas teachings even though they will do them in his name. Educate yourself. People can do whatever they want, it really pisses me of when people aren’t specific and get their facts straight.

        1. Again, you attempt to insult the intelligence but you fail.

          No, it was not just Catholicism, it was Christianity from its very inception. It appears that it is [i]you [/i]who do not know the minutiae of this debate but have merely scratched the surface. This very post itself demonstrates that Christianity, as told in the gospel story, not simply Catholic doctrine, was based on paganism from the beginning. So too do my many books and articles on the subject of Christian origins ([url]http://stellarhousepublishing.com[/url]), using primary sources in multiple languages dating back thousands of years.

          If you would like to know more about the subject of early Christian origins outside of what your Bible or pastor have taught you, please feel free to read my articles and books. What I have stated above is accurate, and I have no interest in intelligence-insulting ad hom fallacies and falsehoods, especially not those slung around out of anger, irrationality and ignorance.

          The Christ Myth Articles ([url]http://truthbeknown.com/christconspiracy.html[/url])
          Books on the Christ Myth ([url]http://stellarhousepublishing.com[/url])

  4. If you are talking to me, your comments are simply ridiculous. Telling the truth and reciting facts is not “tantrum tantrum tantrum,” but [i]your [/i]obnoxious comments sound like it is [i]you [/i]pitching a “hissy fit.”

    I am also “versed in Greek and Hebrew,” and my theories are quite soundly backed up by the primary sources in numerous languages. I really have no interest in the opinion of someone posting anonymously nothing but insults and stupid comments.

    You have not provided a single fact, just your own bilious nonsense. Such sociopathic behavior is called “trolling.”

    In the meantime, everything I’ve said here remains factual.

  5. That’s hilarious, go ahead and plug your wares dude, but what I do and don’t know just because I called you on it isn’t going to change. I’m versed in Greek and Hebrew, and the theories you espouse are simply false, just deal with it and move on with your life. And I shared the initial statement about a view, not you personally. Your statements insinuating they’re based in negativity just because they disagree with you pretty much say it all. Tantrum tantrum tantrum.

  6. I wish you would take a more honest approach in your limited and obviously prejudiced assumptions about what “Christians” believe. Your assertions are a dim and shallow as a near-empty glass of pond water.

  7. Maybe its lost in translation and Jesus is actually the sun of God not the son. i.e. The sun and not an immaculately conceived son… I guess these ideas were thought out before they knew of a southern hemisphere where the 25th Dec is summer solstice.. Its all about perspective isn’t it?

  8. Wish I would have seen your article back when you wrote this. Never read your book, but now I am interested in it. – William Doehring

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