Influence from Ancient India & Persia, on Ancient Greece & the Hellenistic Roman Empire

{extracts from an article written by me in 1994, before I got sidetracked by the study of Zionism.}

Peter Myers, update 11 December 1994. Internet Edition, Jan 13, 2001, updated November 28, 2009; McEvilley addition December 27, 2017.

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{McEvilley addition December 27, 2017}

The most comprehensive book on the mutual influences between India and Greece in the ancient world is:

Mc Evilley, Thomas C.

The Shape Of Ancient Thought, Comparative Studies In Greek And Indian Philosophies ( 2002)

It's a gem of a book. Best to buy it; but you can also download it (pdf or text) at

Here are some youtubes of McEvilley presenting his case:

(short - 7.46 min)

Thomas McEvilley on Ancient Greek and Indian philosophy

Michael Kasino Published on 21 Apr 2008

Thomas McEvilley speaks about Ancient Greek and Indian philosophy, and their co-mingling in his book: 'The Shape of Ancient Thought'.

(more detailed - 33.49m)

Michael Kasino Published on 23 Apr 2011

Thomas McEvilley on 'The Shape of Ancient Thought'

"A revolutionary study by the classical philologist and art historian Thomas McEvilley is about to challenge much of academia. In THE SHAPE OF ANCIENT THOUGHT, an empirical study of the roots of Western culture, the author argues that Eastern and Western civilizations have not always had separate, autonomous metaphysical schemes, but have mutually influenced each other over a long period of time."

{end McEvilley addition}

Footnotes are at the end.

The two wellsprings of Western culture, the Greek (basis of academia) and the Judaic (basis of our sense of history) seem to have dried up. Their fusion, first by Philo and then in Christianity, was the basis of what we call the Old World Order.

In his paper Bruno Bauer and Early Christianity, Frederick Engels writes,

"Bauer studied this question [the origin of Christianity] until his death. His research reached its culminating point in the conclusion that the Alexandrian Jew Philo, who was still living about 40 A.D. but was already very old, was the real father of Christianity, and that the Roman stoic Seneca was, so to speak, its uncle."

Into the Genesis account of creation, Philo interposed Ideas between God and the material creation: God first created his blueprint, as Platonic Forms; then, using them, he created material reality {footnote 1}. The Platonic God was synthesised with Yahweh, Reason with Revelation, the Bible providing insights into God's Blueprint (Forms) which were often not attainable through Reason. By this means, the Platonic tradition abandoned the concept of time as cyclic, expressed in its acceptance of reincarnation {footnote 2}, for the Judaic (originally Zoroastrian) linear concept of time as "salvation history". The Encyclopedia of Jewish Religion says that Philo's contribution to the beginnings of Christian theology contributed to his being cold-shouldered by subsequent Jewish scholars. Augustine later continued the synthesis pioneered by Philo.

Not only was Plato's metaphysical God, the ahistoricist mathematician, fused with the jealous tribal historicist Yahweh; Plato's utopia was also fused with the Jewish (later Christian) theocratic utopia: Israel or Rome. The new synthesis also completed the shift in Western culture from Shame-Culture (that of Japan today, as Ruth Benedict identified) to Guilt-Culture, a shift identified in Ancient Greece by E. R. Dodds in his book The Greeks and The Irrational. The "internationalists" are desperately trying to effect such a shift in Japan today, while the New Age in the West is, to some extent, trying to go the other way, to make room once again for the irrational, the primitive and the animist (much to the alarm of R. C. Zaehner in Our Savage God): this partly explains the fascination for Ancient Egypt, where these elements are seen as balanced with the rational, in the 2000-year empire of the Ancient World, matched only by the Chinese Empire. Alain Danielou in Gods of Love and Ecstasy (also published as Shiva and Dionysius) writes, "Throughout Brahmanism, official Greek or Roman religion, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity or Islam, we always find the same opposition to the survival of the ancient religions of Shivaism, Dionysism, Sufism and mystic sects in general founded on the love of nature and the pursuit of ecstasy. One of the weapons of city religion is moral tyranny, based on dogmas which allow it to discipline man and to oppose his self-realisation. Puritanism is totally unknown in the primitive or natural world" (p. 17).

This rationalism was not original in the Semitic peoples (now called Afroasiatic; the Egyptians are included) - even early Judaism had its shamans - but came from the invading Aryan (Indo-European peoples): the Brahman caste of India, the Zoroastrian and other priests of Iran, and the rationalists of Greece; we often fail to realise that these peoples were all part of the one vast invasion around 4000 years ago, and therefore retained much in common. In the synthesis between Greek and Judaic culture, I surmise that the Greek tradition was first separated into its rational and nonrational components, the latter was rejected, and the former combined with the nonrational Judaic tradition to form a new synthesis. This might explain the West's problem, in the humanist/enlightenment project, in trying to remove the Judaic component from the synthesis: we find ourselves with the "rational" Greek side, but with no means for sensible expression of the nonrational: we tend to be either puritans (rejecting the nonrational) or (being excessively nonrational) mindless hedonists or sado-masochists (the holocaust being one result).

Marxism draws upon such a synthesis of utopias: on the one hand the "scientific socialism" of Plato's Republic, on the other it occurs in a historicist context, with a struggle between the forces of Good and Evil, a Prophet, a Holy Book, a Church (the Party organisation), and Salvation conceived as Heaven on Earth: this Heaven being fused with Plato's ideal Republic. The similarities are made explicitly clear by Frederick Engels.

Whereas we are used to thinking of the Judaic religion as Semitic, i.e. Arabic, the historicist component of it is, in origin, Persian, i.e. Indo-European. The ancient Persian god Zurvan, i.e. Time, i.e. Kronos, is deified in Marxism as History. Zoroastrianism was the means by which this Indo-European idea entered Jewish consciousness from the time of the First Persian Empire, when Judaism was reconstructed by Ezra and the Bible was rewritten (the story of Adam and Eve being added at that point) to the Parthian Empire. The influence is discussed in Unit 27 Zoroastrians and the West of the Open University series Man's Religious Quest. Influence from the Parthian Empire in the period 54-38 BC was particularly strong (p. 31). It is in this period that Barbara Thiering says Hillel and Menahem came to Israel from Babylonian Judaism:

"Menahem was a man of talent who founded the Magians, whose name reflected their Babylonian culture ... It was probably Menahem, with his Essene interest in calendar and prophecy, who conceived the idea of a thousand year empire of the Jews." (Jesus the Man, pp. 27-28, emphasis added). The Kingdom of the Jews would be "the grestest empire yet known", the throne in Jerusalem, and Rome under its sway as "a subordinate territory" (op. cit., pp. 28-29). To this end the Essenes and Zealots (including Jesus) devoted themselves, culminating in Masada; the Zionist movement kept the vision alive for two thousand years {footnote 3}, but some Jews fear that it will lead to another Masada - on a much bigger scale {footnote 4}. The same Jerusalem-Rome polarity reappears in the title of Moses Hess' book Rome and Jerusalem, which instigated the re-surfacing of the Zionist movement; Hess was the "red rabbi" who had earlier converted both Karl Marx and Frederick Engels to the Communist movement.

Books such as Thiering's Jesus the Man surely cut away the historical foundation from under the ediface of Christianity, exposing it as a very human construction. It is a religion which in most of its churches or sects has placed great importance on its foundation literature (the books of the New Testament) as the basis of its very legitimacy. With that foundation literature exposed, it is difficult to see the superstructure remaining. Only types of Christianity which broke away from that foundation and moved from sin-and-repentence (the Zoroastrian-Jewish-Christian idea) towards illusion-and-enlightenment (the Indian idea) will be unaffected: such as the Quakers and the re-emerging Gnostics. Will Manichaeism finally triumph over the Church? The ambiguity of the modern Communist movement's close connections with the Zionist movement, the grain of truth (even if but a grain) in the argument that it is "a Zionist plot" ("Nationalism for themselves, Internationalism for everyone else") might yet destroy the foundations of Marxism, which continues to guide the thinking of many intellectual leaders in the West, as if Lenin's Russia and Mao's China had not matched the atrocities of Hitler's Germany. Although Marx drew heavily upon Rousseau, there is also a marked discontinuity from the former to the latter. Rousseau looked to Sparta and Rome as models; Marx had no such praise for Sparta, and chose as his hero Spartacus, a slave who rebelled against Rome; there is something very Judaic about his rejection of "the peoples", the great civilisations of the past, and his willingness to see the bourgeois capitalists sweep away all traditional cultures, all around the world.

Marx is already becoming less a heroic and more an enigmatic and tragic figure, the unwitting destroyer of that which he valued most. In an equally perverse dialectical way, Hitler did more towards the creation of the state of Israel than did any other modern person: the memory of his holocaust is the foundation of modern Israel, still central to its preservation. However much the Palestinians, the other Arabs, and the non-Arab Moslems might wish to paint Israel as an imperialist aggressor, the holocaust is a reminder that the Jews are victims. As Robert Hughes noted in Culture of Complaint, victimhood is powerful. In his book The Sacred Executioner, Hyam Maccoby looks at the importance of human sacrifice in foundation myths. He posits that Judaism is founded upon the actual sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, the saving intervention being, not by an angel but by a later editor of the story. Similarly, early Christian theology made a foundation sacrifice out of the crucifixion of Jesus. Equally, modern Israel is founded upon Hitler's sacrifice of the Jewish people.

Will a Masada yet happen, as Sir Isaac Isaacs feared - perhaps as part of a world war? There is a chilling similarity to the Muslim-Confucian alignment seen and in effect advocated (as an enemy) by Samual Huntington in The Clash of Civilizations, and the same portayal in most versions of the prophecies of Nostrodamus. The state of Israel could so upset the power-balance in the Middle East, the Radical Feminists so upset the Moslem world (as at the recent Cairo conference), the United States so upset China and perhaps East Asia generally, by trying to assert control over them, that such an alignment could come about. This is not mere fancy: Huntington and Brzezinski are the United States' two leading theoreticians; the dialectical relationship between Europe and Islam is decribed by Hichem Djait in Europe and Islam. The danger of confrontation would be much reduced if the West would stop trying to control the rest of the world: this includes the Left stopping its moralistic criticism and preaching. Live and let live. This paper contains some very "politically incorrect" statements, almost anathema, almost on the Index, but they must be said, so high are the stakes: if there is another Masada, it will be too late. If cannot be averted by accelerating the present push for Internationalism in the Western positive-feedback style, promoting an extreme (antithesis) in other to achieve a synthesis, because that synthesis might be the end: the thesis' determination to resist such dominance is most likely behind the book The Asia That Can Say No, by Shintaro Ishihara and Dr. Mahathir (the English translation is not available yet). On this matter I unequivocally sympathise with the Asians. The Western push for dominance, whether in the name of Free Trade or Human Rights, is imperialistic and could provoke war. For the sake of peace, the idea of World Government must be given up. Let Sir Isaacs Isaacs be our champion, and let us follow the maxim of Oswald Spengler, "the Jews are a peculiar phenomenon in world-history only so long as we insist on treating them as such {footnote 5}".

Barbara Thiering is an expert in her own field but inclines to see it as sui-generis. The thousand-year rule (millenium) heralded by a Messiah is Zoroastrian, not originally Jewish. Hitler's Reich "that would last a thousand years" comes from the same mythological tradition. She cites Josephus' statement that the Essenes were regarded as like the Pythagorean communities (op. cit. p.163). However the case for Buddhist influence should also be considered; the Pythagorean way itself probably originally came from India, in any case.

Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and their daughters Christianity and Islam, personalise Time in the form of a personal god Ahura Mazda (the same Mazda that lights Mazda light-globes today), Yahweh or Allah; Marxism depersonalises Time in the form of History: not merely "history", but History, necessaritarian and predestinated. The struggle comes straight from Zoroaster; its current major manifestation, now that Marxism has declined, is in Radical Feminism. It is fundamentalist, and about to fail, because the people of Japan, having being little influenced historically by such Zoroastrian-derived culture, have been able to resist it, and lead others to do the same. The failure will be particularly hard for the West to accept, because with the fall of Radical Feminism it will be completely ideology-less: there is no further mutation of the Western ideology on the horizon: it will then find itself lacking its customary sense of History - like a person who has lost his memory. It will be the end of the New World Order announced first in the American Revolution {footnote 6} and most clearly in the French, as Marx pointed out:

"The French Revolution gave rise to ideas which led beyond the ideas of the entire old world order. The revolutionary movement which began in 1789 in the Cercle Social, which in the middle of its course had as its chief representatives Leclerc and Roux, and which finally with Babeuf's conspiracy was temporarily defeated, gave rise to the communist idea which Babeuf's friend Buonarroti re-introduced in France after the Revolution of 1830. This idea, consistently developed, is the idea of the new world order." {footnote 7}.

... In Black Athena, Martin Bernal argued against "the classic illusion", the construction of Ancient Greece as the Aryan Garden-of-Eden of Humanism; he showed in particular that Greece borrowed heavily from Egypt. Marija Gimbutas, in her works, shows the lingering influence of pre-Aryan-invasion cultures of the Mediterranean. We now need a major recognition of Persian (Median) and Indian influence on Hellenic culture; M. L. West's book Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient is a major contribution to this. The influence of the Zoroastrian (Median) religion upon Greece is also argued in Ruhi Muhsen Afnan's Zoroaster's Influence On Anaxagoras, the Greek Tragedians, and Socrates, and in Lawrence H. Mills' Zoroaster, Philo and Israel, Part 1: Zoroaster and the Greeks. See also Drs Geiger and Windischmann's Zarathustra in the Gathas and in the Greek and Roman Classics. Afnan points out that (i) Zoroaster, born in Media, was the first founder of a universal or "Internationalist" religion: "he never directed his teachings to a specific people" (ii) "We shall utterly fail to appreciate the full significance of the wars of expansion, waged by the Persians under the Arhaemenids, if we compare their exploits with those of, for example, Caesar in ancient days, or Napoleon {footnote 8}, in modern times; and attribute them to love for military enterprise, or power and prowess. If we have to compare them at all, it should be with the wars of expansion waged by early Islam" (p. 16). Evidence for the suppression of non-Mazda worship and its replacement by Mazda worship is also described in Richard N. Frye, The Heritage of Persia, pp. 144-5.

In The Story of Christian Origins(also published as The Religion of the Occident), Martin Larson writes, "Zoroastrianism ... was for centuries embraced by those Caucasians known as Aryans or Iranians; and it became for them an instrument of national policy in their bitter conflicts against surrounding nomadic tribes and Semitic nations ... With the emergence of the first Persian Empire under Cyrus and its further expansion under Darius the Great Hystaspes, 521-486, the worship of Ahuramazda dominated twenty-three nations." (p. 83). Larson notes that Ahuramazda not only had seven archangels, but he also had "the Spirit of Wisdom, his active, creative agency in the universe: a concept startlingly similar to the logos of Zeno the Stoic, Philo Judaeus, and the Fourth Gospel" (p.93). Even more startlingly, Mills derives Heraclitus' metaphysics - the cosmic war of opposites, and Logos (an underlying unity) as Reason embedded in Nature - from Zoroastrian inspiration. In The Presocratic Philosophers, Kirk and Raven endorse Aristotle's opinion that Pythagoreanism was fundamentally dualistic, and write, "Zoroastrianism, like Pythagoreanism, was based upon a dualism between a good principle, Ormazd, and a bad, Ahriman" (p.241). Also, "Zoroaster was well established as a sage by the early Hellenistic period, and Aristoxenus had stated that Pythagoras visited Zoroaster in Babylon. Of the vast mass of pseudo-Zoroastrian literature produced in the Hellenistic epoch ... A second wave of Zoroastrian literature was produced in the first two centuries A.D. by various Gnostic sects" (p.65). Acknowledgment of the Zoroastrian influence need not undermine the Greek contribution, the experimental science and freethinking dialectic (rational debate) not found in Persia; it merely locates the Greek effort within the dominant Persian cultural context. Unlike Greek freethinking, Zoroastrianism was a revealed religion like Ezra's reconstructed Judaism, and like Islam: Zoroaster being its Prophet, the Avesta its Torah ("Law"), the Gathas its Psalms, the Zend its Talmud (commentary). In a most unusual discussion, Martin Buber in his book Good and Evil devotes as much attention to the Avesta as to the Bible.

Zoroastrianism, then, was the first fundamentalist religion, spread by missionaries, embraced by King Cyrus and King Darius, prepared to use war as a means of enlightenment, the first form of Internationalism. It pressed the Greeks at the gates of their cities, and within, as the above authors show. The term "Medic" designated the early Zoroastrians; Greeks influenced by this creed, and its hymns, the Gathas, were said to be "medising". It greatly influenced Judaism (during and after the captivity in Babylon, which led to a rewriting of the Bible {footnote 9}), Christianity and Islam, Internationalist religions which followed in its wake, daughters so to speak. These various religious Internationalisms then led, in Marxism, to the first Secular Internationalist creed, the first form of secular fundamentalism, modelled on the religious ones. Marxism it turn, by the same process of intellectual mutation, led to its own daughter secular Internationalisms: Radical Feminism (also fundamentalist) and Green Fundamentalism. My argument against all forms of Internationalism is that they are imperialistic, they are ideologies legitimating conquest. When in opposition they play the Victim, the Prophet, the Defender of the Rights of the Oppressed; when in power, the Priest-King (or Queen). I prefer that there be diverse centres of power, and myriads of small societies running their own ship, making their own mistakes, oblivious of central oracles. We need no United Nations {footnote 10}.

Plato's theology of reincarnation and the mystical contemplation of God resembled that of the Orphics and Pythagoreans but was not otherwise grounded in earlier Greek thought, yet was well established in the theology of India, as shown by Swami Paramananda in Plato and Vedic Idealism, and probably came from there. As Larson says, "In that ancient world, one empire succeeded another, and throughout the domains of each, religious doctrines and ceremonials were carried from one country to another along the caravan routes" (p.83). Also see Philip D. Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History. According to Alain Danielou in Gods of Love and Ecstasy, the Greek Dionysius is the Siva of India; although there are also resemblances to Osiris of Egypt. The tradition of permanent celibacy came to Greece and Alexandria not from Persia but from India, where it was probably developed by the Jains (whom the Greeks called 'Gymnosophists'). Buddhism was created by Gautama as a "middle path", being less extreme than earlier, already well-established, forms of asceticism. Zoroastrianism, like Islam and pre-Essene Judaism, is pro-marriage, seeing no merit in celibacy.

Clement of Alexandria, writing in the Second Century AD, described the Brahmans, Jains and Buddhists of Alexandria:

"... the Brahmans neither eat animal flesh nor drink wine ... They despise deaths and reckon life of no account. For they are persuaded that there is a regeneration. The gods they worship are Heracles and Pan {footnote 11}. And the Indians who are Holy Men go naked throughout their entire life. They seek for the truth, and predict the future, and reverence a certain pyramid beneath which, they think, lie the bones of a certain god. {footnote 12}"

The translators comment, 'The pyramid is obviously the Buddhist stupa ... Clement mentions the Buddhists in Strom., I, 71: "Among the Indians there are also adherents of the precepts of Buddha, whom because of his exceeding holiness they have honoured as a god." But his account here seems somewhat confused, since in Buddhism nakedness is regarded with horror; nakedness suggests perhaps a Jainist community. {footnote 13}'

The spread of Buddhism to Alexandria began centuries earlier. The Indus Valley civilisation had even been trading with Egypt and Mesopotamia two millenia earlier, as discovered by archaeologists. Pliny described reed boats plying the coast of India, in his Natural History, and such ocean travel to the Indus and Egypt was demonstrated by Thor Heyerdahl in The Tigris Expedition. As Martin Larson puts it in The Story of Christian Origins, "Immediately after the great council at Pataliputra [called by King Asoka in 242 BC], an immense proselyting campaign was undertaken. Buddhist missionaries penetrated every portion of the then known world, including Greece, Egypt, Baktria, Asia Minor, and the Second Persian Empire. Palestine must have been permeated by Buddhist ideology during the first century. It would have been impossible for anyone to remain unaffected by its doctrine" (p.142).

Elaine Pagels in her book The Gnostic Gospels writes that "Orthodox Jews and Christians insist that a chasm separates humanity from its creator: God is wholly other. But some of the gnostics who wrote these gospels [in the Nag Hammadi library] contradict this: self-knowledge is knowledge of God; the self and the divine are identical. Second, the 'living Jesus' of these texts speaks of illusion and enlightenment, not sin and repentance" (p. 19, emphasis added). This is an important indicator of Indian thought.

According to Pagels, Edward Conze pointed out that

"'Buddhists were in contact with the Thomas Christians (that is, Christians who knew and used such writings as the Gospel of Thomas) in South India.' Trade routes between the Greco-Roman world and the Far East were opening up at the time when gnosticism flourished (A. D. 80-200); for generations, Buddhist missionaries had been proselytizing in Alexandria. We note, too, that Hippolytus, who was a Greek-speaking Christian in Rome (c. 225), knows of the Indian Brahmins - and includes their tradition among the sources of heresy:

"'There is ... among the Indians a heresy of those who philosophize among the Brahmins, who live a self-sufficient life, abstaining from (eating) living creatures and all cooked food ... They say that God is light, not like the light one sees, nor like the sun nor fire, but to them God is discourse, not that which finds expression in articulate sounds, but that of knowledge (gnosis) through which the secret mysteries of nature are perceived by the wise'" (pp. 19-20).

Whether Zoroastrianism is "monotheist" or "dualist" is a matter of debate, because it combined the two as a dualism created by a single god. In Marxism one see the same combination of monotheism and dualism: the transcendent law and force of History as "mono", the clash between exploiting and exploited classes, recurring throughout class history unril the resolution, as dualist. The dualism was more pronounced in gnosticism and Manichaeism: "While in Zoroastrianism both the spiritual and material world, both the soul and the body, were created as Ohrmazd's allies against the destroyer Ahriman, in Iranian Gnosticism the spirit and matter, Light and Darkness, appeared as two primordial and antagonistic principles {footnote 14}".

The worst of fundamentalisms arose when Zoroastrian dualism (which was not present in Buddhism) was fused with the separation of the sexes (which was not present in Zoroastrianism), in a theology developed around Alexandria in the first century BC and the first century AD. This theology featured a cosmic war between Spirit and Matter (Body, Sex), the latter being evil. It is exhibited by the Essenes, and was current in Gnosticism. Various Christian writers attacked this theology, but it has nevertheless penetrated deeply into Christianity, perhaps through Paul rather than Jesus. Gnosticism was in part a Western form of Buddhism, but Zoroastrian ideas (such as its angelology) are also prominent in it - Alexandria was such a melting pot. Zoroastrian angelology has greatly influenced the Jewish Kabala, and through it remained an influence on the Western "occult" tradition, continuing into our own "New Age" movement. The Gnostic undercurrent kept surfacing within Christendom, e.g. in the Cathar "heresy". How different would Europe have been, if the Church had extended to others, when embraced by the empire, the toleration it itself had demanded when itself a minority.

1 Philo, On the Creation (De Opficio Mundi), in The Works of Philo, tr. C.D. Yonge: "for God, as apprehending beforehand, as a God must do, that there could not exist a good imitation without a good model, and that of the things perceptible to the external senses nothing could be faultless which was not fashioned with reference to some archetypal idea conceived by the intellect, when he had determined to create this visible world, previously formed that one which is perceptible only by the intellect, in order that so using an incorporeal model formed as far as possible on the image of God, he might then make this corporeal world, a younger likeness of the elder creation, which should embrace as many different genera perceptible to the external senses, as the other world contains of those which are visible only to the intellect." This sentence, fusing the Greek and Judaic cultural streams, is the basis of Christendom, and through it Western Civilisation.

2 which it had adopted from Indian influences. The Aryan Vedic concept is of linear time, in one's personal life, but without the whole of human history being seen as a linear, teleological salvation-history culminating in a utopia. The notion of time as cyclic, both on a cosmic scale and through personal reincarnation was accepted into later Aryan thinking, like the god Shiva, as an influence from the subject non-Aryan population of India. From there it spread to the Pythagoreans, whom Plato followed.

3 "Zionism is a magnificent structure that was shaped and formed, with infinite love and immesurable suffering by the master-minds of the Jewish people throughout countless generations". Letter by Rabbi L. A. Falk in The Hebrew Standard newspaper of Sydney, January 15, 1942, in reply to articles by Sir Isaac Isaacs.

4 'It is common knowledge in Jewish history that the aggressive or "Masada" type of Zealots were also called Sicarii from the sica that is the dagger that each carried under his cloak, and with which he dispatched any one who advocated moderation or any course contrary to their fanatic tenets, and who was therefore regarded by them as a traitor. The modern "dagger" is of course the pen dipped in bitter ink.' Letter by Sir Isaac Isaacs, the first Jewish Governor-General of Australia, in The Hebrew Standard newspaper of Sydney, January 22, 1942. Sir Isaac goes on to advocate spiritual Zionism, 'that looks to the future of Judaism as one of a fuller life for our people and the Faith we hold, a life of peace with all the world and universal goodwill, It is utterly opposed to the "Masada" stamp of Zionism, one of desperation, defeat and death.'

5 The Decline of the West, Vol. 2, p. 205.

6 The Great Seal of the United States, authorised in 1776, contains the words (in Latin) "Towards a New Order of the Ages".

7 The Holy Family, Chapter 6, Part 3 (this part being written by Marx alone), in Collected Works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Moscow 1975, Volume 4, p.119.

8 Perhaps Afnan underestimates the ideology-bearing nature of Napoleon's forces. Marx wrote that Napoleon "perfected the Terror by substituting permanent war for permanent revolution.", in The Holy Family, ch. 6 part 3 (this part is by Marx alone), CW, 4, p. 123. Napoleon's troops spread Rousseau's new notion of legitimacy as bottom-up, rather than the top-down version in which kings and princes were seen as legitimated by God. Many Left analysts see this as the beginning of "nationalism", overlooking all earlier nations; what allows them to do this, in their reckoning, is the expression of "nationalism" via this new notion of legitimacy. And yet, it was spread by an unelected emperor, and by conquest. James Billington notes in Fire In the Minds of Men, "The rational reintegration of society preached by Hegel and Saint-Simon was inconceivable without the strange combination that Napoleon introduced into the world: a despot ruling in the name of liberation". I venture to say that all forms of Internationalism, beginning with the Zoroastrian (Mazdayasnian) creed of the First Persian Empire, embody this contradiction; they depict the Old Order as parochial and out-of-date, and the overwhelming power of the empire creates a protective halo around its new, apparently universal, creed, hiding its contradictions until, during the empire's contraction, people "see" them. During the Cold War, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. spread anti-imperial propaganda against each other, derived from Rousseau's notion of bottom-up legitimacy, yet each itself was an empire spreading its power into all interstices, such that no part of the world could remain unaligned. Regimes legitimated in Rousseau's bottom-up terms were different from their predecessors in rhetoric rather than in reality; such rhetoric required sustained propaganda permeated with lies.

9 The writings of Margaret Barker are relevant, although like many specialists she inclines to seeing her own patch as "sui generis": The Older Testament, The Last Prophet: The Book of Enoch and its Influence on Christianity and The Gate of Heaven. For a balance see Martin Larson, The Story of Christian Origins (a mine of information, although it needs updating) also Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote the Bible? The influence of foreign religion on the Jews was more by contagion than conversion: In The Social Contract, Rousseau points to the pre-Christian origins of anti-Semitism: "But when the Jews, subject to the Kings of Babylon, and afterwards to the Kings of Syria, stubbornly sought to recognize no other God but their own, this refusal was regarded as a rebellion against their conquerors, and it brought on the Jews those persecutions of which we read in their history, and of which we find no other example before the coming of Christianity" (Penguin, p.177).

10 Recent literature of the United Nations Association of Australia refers to the U.N. as a "global administration", i.e. a world government. Our Foreign Minister has called for the creation of a U.N. standing army. A "world government" could very easily become a "world despotism". The NGOs (non-government organisations) operating at the U.N., whilst performing charities, must also be seen as powerful lobby groups which have no mandate by plebiscite. There is much talk about "human rights" these days, but little about "democracy", democratic rule being incompatible with rule by elite lobbies claiming to be "vanguards" of the people. If democracy means anything, it means that the people must be free to make their own mistakes. Note that the U.N. has still not conducted an open investigation into charges by China that during the Korean War, U.N. armies used biological weapons of the type which Japan had been developing through Unit 731. See Stewart Lone and Gavan McCormack, Korea Since 1850, p.115-118. Professor Kei'ichi Tsuneishi, of Kanagawa University in Japan, is the leading authority on Japan's "B.W." (Biological Warfare) "Ishii Network" operating during the war in China and the Pacific; its most famous component was Unit 731 based in Harbin, where biological experiments were performed on Chinese people, in the Nazi manner. According to Professor Tsuneishi, after the end of the war, the Allied Supreme Command in Japan did a deal with the Japanese researchers, offering immunity from war-crimes prosecution in return for hand-over of the results of the research. Part of the deal was that it be kept secret by both sides. During the Korean War, China and North Korea published allegations that the U.N. Army had engaged in B.W. attack in Korea by the same B.W. method developed by the Ishii Network in China in 1940 to 1942. At first the U.S. ignored their allegations. A year later China and North Korea again alleged B.W. attack by the U.N. Army. This time the U.S. responded to the charges, rejecting the claim and denying the existence of the Ishii Network; so did Japan. The cover-up of the Ishii Network thus involves not only the Japanese Government; also implicated are the Pentagon and the United Nations. In recent years we have learned of Britain's experiments at Maralinga, the Pentagon's nuclear experiments with human guinea-pigs, and Soviet laxity with nuclear materials. It is now time for the United Nations - not quite as holy as it might seem - to come clean.

11 That is, the Indian equivalents of these gods (saints) - there was a cultural continuum between India and the Mediterranean. According to Richard Frye in his book The Heritage of Persia, devotion to Heracles was widespread in the Seleucid (Greek) empire: "In Bactria he seems to have been identified with Siva, at least by certain worshippers there." Plates 69/70 and 87 show a statue and a frieze of Heracles in which he is naked; this is consistent with Shiva; the Aryan gods always wore their clothes.

12 John Oulton and Henry Chadwick, Alexandrian Christianity: Selected Translations of Clement and Origen, p.68.

13 ibid., p.68 note 80.

14 Yuri Stoyanov, The Hidden Tradition in Europe, p. 80.


For comparison, see Stephen Van Eck's article Hare Jesus: Christianity's Hindu Heritage
 in The Skeptical Review: 1994: Number Three, at


Objective and open-minded scholars long ago conceded that Christianity is at heart a revamped form of Judaism. In the process of its development as something distinct from its mother religion, it became hybridized with so much pagan influence that it ultimately alienated its original Jewish base and became predominantly Gentile. The source of this pagan influence is varied and vague in the minds of most advanced Bible critics, but it may owe more to Hinduism than most people suspect.

The average person does not connect India with the ancient Middle East, but the existence of some trade between these two regions is documented, even in the Bible. Note the reference to spikenard in the Song of Solomon (1:12 ; 4:13-14 ) and in the Gospels (Mark 14:3 ; John 12:3 ). This is an aromatic oil-producing plant (Nardostachys jatamansi) that the Arabs call sunbul hindi and obtained in trade with India.

It is axiomatic that influence follows trade, and the vibrant culture of India could not help but impact on anyone exposed to it. The influence on Judaism came for the most part indirectly, however, via the Persians and the Chaldeans, who dealt with India on a more direct basis. (Indeed, the Aryans, who invaded and transformed India over 1500 years before Christ, were of the same people who brought ancient Persia to its greatest glory. Persia's name today--Iran--is a corruption of Aryan.) The ancient Judeans absorbed much of this secondhand influence during the Babylonian captivity of the sixth century B. C., and during the intertestamental period, when Alexandria became the crossroads of the world, intellectuals both Jew and Gentile were exposed to a variety of ideas, some of which originated on the subcontinent.

The precise pattern of influence was neither observed nor documented, but it can be inferred from the numerous uncanny similarities in concept and expression, not all of which can be coincidental. Let us examine the telltale evidence (none of which, it may be added, depends upon any apocryphal account of the alleged "lost years" of Jesus in India).

Most Christians are familiar with Galatians 6:7 , "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Less known is Proverbs 26:27 , "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein, and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him." Both express the Hindu principle of karma (the sum and the consequences of a person's actions during the successive phases of his existence), but since no direct connection can be deduced, we'll merely consider it an interesting coincidence and move on.

The concept of a soul that is distinguishable from the body and can exist independently of it is alien to Judaism. It is first known in Hinduism. Only after the Babylonian captivity did any such concept arise among the Jews, and it is in the epistles of Paul, the "debtor to both the Greeks and the Barbarians," that the notion receives its first clear expression. (See 2 Corinthians 5:8 and 12:3 .)

The Brahmin caste of the Hindus are said to be "twice-born" and have a ritual in which they are "born in the spirit." Could this be the ultimate source of the Christian "born again" concept (John 3:3 )?

The deification of Christ is a phenomenon often attributed to the apotheosis of emperors and heroes in the Greco-Roman world. These, however, were cases of men becoming gods. In the Jesus story, the Divinity takes human form, god becoming man. This is a familiar occurrence in Hinduism and in other theologies of the region. Indeed, one obstacle to the spread of Christianity in India, which was attempted as early as the first century, was the frustrating tendency of the Hindus to understand Jesus as the latest avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu.

It is in the doctrine of the Trinity that the Hindu influence may be most clearly felt. Unknown to most Christians, Hinduism has a Trinity (or Trimurti) too: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, who have the appellations the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer (and Regenerator). This corresponds to the Christian Trinity in which God created the heavens and the earth, Jesus saves, and the Holy Spirit is referred to as a regenerator (Titus 3:5 ). It is interesting to note, furthermore, that the Holy Spirit is sometimes depicted as a dove, while the Hebrew language uses the same term for both "dove" and "destroyer"!

The Trinity was a major stumblingblock for the Jews, who adhered to strict monotheism. The inherent polytheism in the Trinity doctrine cannot be explained away with the nonsensical claim that three is one and one is three. Besides, Jesus himself undermined any pretense of triunity (or omnipotence, for that matter) in Matthew 19:17 , "And he said unto them, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God...." Matthew 20:23 ; Mark 14:32 ; John 5:30 ; 7:16 and 14:28 also contradict the Trinitarian concept. ...

Then there is the Hindu epic, the Bhagavad-Gita, a story of the second person of the Hindu Trinity, who took human form as Krishna. Some have considered him a model for the Christ, and it's hard to argue against that when he says things like, "I am the beginning, the middle, and the end" (BG 10:20 vs. Rev. 1:8 ). His advent was heralded by a pious old man named Asita, who could die happy knowing of his arrival, a story paralleling that of Simeon in Luke 2:25 . Krishna's mission was to give directions to "the kingdom of God" (BG 2:72), and he warned of "stumbling blocks" along the way (BG 3:34; 1 Cor. 1:23 ; Rev. 2:14 ). The essential thrust of Krishna's sayings, uttered to a beloved disciple, sometimes seems to coincide with Jesus or the Bible. Compare "those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead" (BG 2:11) with the sense of Jesus' advice to "let the dead bury their own dead" (Matt. 8:22 ). Krishna's saying, "I envy no man, nor am I partial to anyone; I am equal to all" (BG 9:29) is a lot like the idea that God is no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11 ; see also Matt. 6:45 ). And "one who is equal to friends and enemies... is very dear to me" (BG 12:18) is reminiscent of "love your enemies" (Matt. 6:44 ). Krishna also said that "by human calculation, a thousand ages taken together is the duration of Brahma's one day" (BG 8:17), which is very similar to 2 Peter 3:8. ...

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