I have a new forum post that is very lengthy and contains a significant amount of information for scholars and students of religious origins. There is bolded text for those who wish to skim this long post for the general ideas. Obviously, I found the original article I'm reviewing here to be highly valuable. Thanks to Bart Ehrman, in fact, we now have even more juicy stuff for the mythicist thesis!
Following are some highlights of this long forum post, which is a review of one of the articles I cited in my original post "The phallic 'Savior of the World' hidden in the Vatican": Youngstown State University professor Dr. Lorrayne Y. Baird's "Priapus Gallinaceus: The Role of the Cock in Fertility and Eroticism in Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages," Studies in Iconography, vols. 7-8, University of Kentucky, 1981-82, pp. 81-111.
In this article, Dr. Baird discusses the many phallic objects and the commentary in literature from antiquity, noting that the phallic cults have existed for thousands of years and were widespread around the Mediterranean into Northern and Western Europe, when Christianity was created. We discover that during the fifth century BCE or earlier, the Greeks anthropomorphized the ancient ithyphallic god under the epithet of Πρίαπος "Priapos" or, Latinized, "Priapus."
Priapus the Good
The Priapus cult became so popular that early Church father Hippolytus (d. 236) described the efforts of a "Justinus" (a Christian priest of the 2nd-3rd cents.?) to "have Priapus recognized as God the Father, first person of the Trinity, the 'Good One.'" Indeed, Priapus was called the "Good One," as was the Jewish tribal god Yahweh, as well as many other gods and goddesses in antiquity. (See my "Chrestos" series.) In the Latin of Hippolytus, Priapus is called Bonus, while the Greek is ἀγαθός Agathos, by which Yahweh and Jesus are both styled in the Bible. (Mk 10:17-18) The use of agathos in Matthew 7:11 as juxtaposed with the Greek word poneros ("wicked") indicates the former term's relationship to chrestos. Hence, Priapus too is essentially a chrestos, possibly the object of worship in the writings of Pliny regarding Bithynia and "Christ" being worshipped there as a god.
Symbol of the sun
Baird also relates that the cock, Priapus and the gods in general were symbolic of the sun - a theme she repeats a number of times in her peer-reviewed, scholarly article published in a journal from an American university. Indeed, the "solarian connection" unites these figures as creators and protectors of life, as well as healers and saviors. Priapus was especial to fishermen, among others, which makes one wonder about the role he may have played in the creation of the gospel story, possibly serving as one archetype for the fisher of men "St. Peter." As Baird explains, in the Christian era, Priapus was changed into a Catholic saint and given a number of names. In consideration of the phallic symbolism of his name, as well as other roles that clearly come from myth, such as the gatekeeper of heaven, we would not be remiss in suggesting that Peter is a remake in significant part of the highly popular god Priapus.
Secret museum collections
Furthermore, as I state in my forum commentary, Baird is not hesitant in stating outright that the University of Naples museum has a SECRET COLLECTION, asserted so matter-of-factly that one understands many museums possess such secret collections, including the Vatican. Indeed, it is in this writer's work that the secret Vatican collection is likewise mentioned, which is why this article was originally of interest. As we can see, it is also a goldmine for other reasons as well.
The reality is that secret and hidden collections in museums are quite common, as such institutions do not and cannot display everything they possess, obviously. In my travels to some 200 archaeological sites in Greece, I encountered many of these back rooms in museums, since I was traveling with groups of students and scholars who were given access to them. I even worked in one of these storerooms while an archaeology student at Corinth, Greece. Anyone who does not know about these rooms in museums not available to the public apparently has not been to museums in the capacity of a scholar.
In any event, there is much more to this interesting and important article by Baird, who followed this one with another called "Christus Gallinaceus."