The first book to be featured in my book blog is ‘Out of Egypt: The Roots of Christianity Revealed’ by Ahmed Osman. In this book, the author questions the historicity of many of the most prominent Jewish Prophets in The Old Testament of The Bible, and suggests that they may have actually been Egyptian Pharaohs and Politicians. Drawing on both scriptural and historical evidence, the argument he puts forward is both exciting and fascinating.
Joseph and his mistranslated multi-colored coat may have actually been a powerful minister called ‘Yuya.’ Egyptian officials typically took the name of their patron god as their last name. But there is no ‘Ya’ in the Egyptian pantheon, and nor can the name be spelled properly using Egyptian hieroglyphs, causing the author to suggest that Yuya was a foreigner (like the Biblical Jospeh) and that ‘Ya’ was a contraction of Yahweh or Jehovah. His life mirrors that of Joseph, and, beside the Pharaoh, his authority was second to none.
King David is associated with Thutmosis III; Amenhotep III is believed to be the historical King Solomon. Most interesting to my mind, however, was the equation of Moses with the radical pharaoh Akhenaten. The similarities between them are overwhelming. In famously pantheistic Egypt (as all religions were at the time), Akhenaten had the audacity to suggest that there was only one true god – the Solar Deity Aten. Such was his conviction in this, that he banned worship of all other gods and had their temples, artifacts, and mention in scripture destroyed. Sound familiar? This did not earn him any popularity, and he was forced to go into exile and eventually abdicate, just as Moses was forced to flee Egypt after murdering a slave-trader. Most interesting of all was the suggestion that the holy name of god ‘Adonai’ featured in The Old Testament, was actually a Hebraic corruption of the name of Akhenaten’s God, Aten. Other similarities include Akhenaten’s disbelief in the afterlife, and the belief that all that was dark was evil – a corruption of earlier religions, that had been much more balanced in this regard.
Of course, all of this is quite removed from the history Christianity has presented of itself; so Osman delineates the sequence of events, and the purposeful distortion of history, that led to the manufacturing of Christianity as we know it today.
Christianity originally stemmed from two main groups – The Essenes and The Gnostics – who, themselves, stemmed from Ancient Mystery Religions such as The Therapeutae, dating all the way back to the practice of shamanism.
As one of the few people who have read the Gnostic Gospels – (a corpus of early Christian literature, most of which pre-dated, or served as highly-censored source material of The New Testament) – discovered in Nag Hammadi in 1945, I can say that the beliefs of the early Christians bear little or no relation to how Christianity has been understood or practiced throughout the last twenty centuries. Their beliefs are a lot more aligned with those of Eastern philosophies such as Taoism, Buddhism, or Hinduism, as well as Platonism and Pythagoreanism; and, indeed, if you were to place these scriptures alongside, say, The Upanishads or the Tao Te Ching, you would find many overwhelming parallels.
The Gnostics believed in reincarnation, practiced meditation, as well as secret initiation rites that would bear a lot of resemblance to Buddhist and Hindu Tantra. Christ is not once spoken of as contemporary historical figure; rather, he is treated as a spiritual principle, representing a state of purified being and consciousness. Interestingly, both these groups, and their Egyptian forebears, would wear aprons during these rites, which, of course, is still a practice carried on in Freemasonry today.
But the enlightened beliefs of the Gnostics were seen as a threat Roman imperial forces. The fact that they were without hierarchy, practiced sexual equality, and believed that one’s understanding of god was a personal, internal experience, and not something that could be mediated by a priest, meant that they could not be controlled or manipulated – something that was anathema to the oppressive Roman State.
Rather than destroy these religious groups, who were fearless and resistant, Rome sought to create its own ‘Official’ State-Approved version of Christianity – a hierarchical, corrupt patriarchy, who would denounce as a heretic anyone who preached a mystical relationship with Christ, or who questioned the historicity of The New Testament. Thus, a religion that was designed to liberate people, was deliberately transformed into a religion to control and enslave, initiating The Dark Ages, and causing an untold amount of deaths and suffering.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in religious history, or who favor a revisionist approach to the stories of The Bible.