Christmas day and the pagan "Sol Invictus"

(George Brooks) #41


My apologies … hard to believe I missed such an important question … when it is surrounded by so much hype and drama.

Plus, when someone is making an effort to attack and/or comment on virtually every other sentence (just look at the machine gun belt postings above!), I usually only read one or two paragraphs. This was a very important rule I had with Eddie … and I was careful to make sure Eddie understood my rule. So, now I’m making sure you know it too.

So, Jonathan, try to put the important stuff in the first couple of paragraphs. I really don’t have the time to respond to every “ranticle” you wedge into your postings…

I hope to give you a list of pagan gods/cults tomorrow

(Jon) #42

Thanks for the non-pology. You make a mistake, and blame it on me.

If you kept this rule yourself, this claim of yours would look more convincing, but you’re the one who stuffs your posts full of massive off topic blasts, and half page diversions on unrelated matters, and still expects people to read your posts with care. Accusing me of posting “ranticles” is just an excuse to try and downplay your consistent failure to read my posts, even when they were only one or two paragraphs long.

I can’t wait to see what you dredge up from nineteenth century polemic pseudo-scholarship.Time to break out “The Two Babylons”. Are you actually going to address the modern scholarship on the topic? Like the scholarship I quoted?

(George Brooks) #43


It wasn’t a mistake. It was a decision. At the time, it seemed to be pretty irrelevant who or what the Gods and Cults were. I was hoping you would find my answer more relevant than a list. What does a list do for you, Jonathan? Nothing. But I’ll give it to you.

This dispute is probably the most ridiculous one I’ve seen you engage full force… Look at the substantive material you have to intentionally ignore or dismiss to reach your conclusion … and then look at the feebleness of your conclusion. What makes you do these things…

(Jon) #44

You’re completely contradicting yourself. You just told me that you missed those comments of mine. You said it right here.

Now you’re claiming you didn’t miss it, and you deliberately ignored it! Do you not even remember what you post from one minute to the next?

When you make a claim that the Christians were trying to replace a specific pagan celebration, but you can’t actually name any pagan celebration which they were supposedly replacing, then that’s very relevant.

Why would I find your answer relevant, when it wasn’t substantiated by any evidence? A list of actual evidence for your claims helps demonstrate that your claims have some validity.

You’re ignoring two facts.

  1. This is the conclusion of mainstream scholarship. I’m simply repeating it.
  2. I haven’t ignored any “substantive material”. I’ve addressed every single one of your points.

Why haven’t you addressed the scholarship yet?


Gbrooks, there is no three day period after the solstice that I’m aware of. Will you show evidence from the ancients that it ever existed?

(George Brooks) #46


Perhaps you should have followed @Jonathan_Burke’s lead more closely. He does not demonstrate his ignorance by making dramatically erroneous statements.

This video is Very Short … but if you are in a hurry, skip to the halfway point, and “behold”.

Some think that the ancient superstition that the soul lingered with the body three days, or the related superstition that the soul was in the underworld for three days, comes from the 3 day pause at both ends of the Solstice cycle.

@Jonathan_Burke, I’ll get with you sometime today…


There is no “3 day pause” in the cycle. The video refers to a perceptible pause but that is totally a subjective judgement. Looking at the sunset azimuths for the period around the solstice there is actually a period of about 5 days that the daily changes are small enough, 0.01 degrees, that you could consider it a pause.

The video also mentions the Southern Cross which according to Wikipedia shouldn’t be visible in this region (too far to the north), but I am no astronomer.

(George Brooks) #48


I thought I was sufficiently clear in an earlier post on this thread. The 3 day pause is an “appearance” of being stationary.

The reference to the Southern Cross in that video is the first time I’ve heard of that particular idea. I certainly have no emotional attachment to the notion.

When you consider the the movement of the sun after the pause to be a full degree, that is 100 times the movement you yourself site (0.01 degrees)… it’s easy to understand how the “3 day” period became significant to the ancient rituals and religions.

I’m patiently waiting to hear from the next critic who will probably point out that there can be no pausing by the sun, because it is hurtling through the Milky Way Galaxy at 300,000 miles per second (I have no idea what the actual speed is … so don’t quote me).

(Jon) #49

I’d love to see all the “ancient rituals and religions” in the first to fourth century Roman empire which celebrated this three day period.

(George Brooks) #50


Not everything to do with December 25 has to be connected to Romans. My comment was not intended as a special reference to Rome. It was intended as a reference to the antiquity of observations surrounding the Winter Solstice of December 22!

Long before the rise of Rome, Egyptians, Indians, Sumerians, Hittites, Babylonians and Assyrians were observors of the night sky, and the Sun’s settings and risings. While I have not seen a catalog of of cultures who specifically comment on the 3 day “appearance of a pause”, I would fully expect an astronomer with eyes in one region to be be fully able to notice the same 3 day interval as those cultures who indicate their observation because they had a specific calendar notice for December 25. I believe Egypt gave special notice to December 25 in connecdtion with Osiris and Horus, and as you yourself have alread pointed out in one of your footnotes, Tammuz was recognized in connection with December 25 by the Babylonian priests.

(Jon) #51

Of course it doesn’t. But since you want to argue that the Christians supplanted a pagan festival which was extant in the Roman empire, then I want to see all the “ancient rituals and religions” in the first to fourth century Roman empire which celebrated this three day period.

lol. I can already see where this is going.

No, I told you explicitly that there was no evidence connecting Tammuz to that date. I quoted a scholar saying this, and I repeated it for you myself. I said nothing about Tammuz being recognized in connection with December 25 “by the Babylonian priests”. Where do you get this stuff from?

(George Brooks) #52

Naturally, @Jonathan_Burke, I get it from you and your sources.

Below I quote from the Facebook discussion you published a link for. In Footnote [27], you brow-beat the reader about any suggestion that there might be a connection between Tammuz and the Birth of Jesus. . . then followed by footnote [28] where you actually provide the evidence for the connectino between Tammuz and the Winter Solstice! In fact, Tammuz is connected specifically to December 25 (Dictionary of Atheism, Skepticism, and Humanism, by Bill Cooke, p. 606. And: “Daniel: Understanding the Dreams and Vision” by Charlene R. Fortsch, Appendix 8F, p. 226).


You need to define what you mean. If you are talking about the azimuth of the sun setting or rising changing by a full degree that can take 12 days. Around the time of the solstice the daily change is small (0.01 degree), but not zero. My point is since the “pause” is a subjective judgement it could be 3 days, it could be 5 days, or it could be 2 weeks. It all depends on the observer. It also depends on how the observer is making this judgment. They would need to have a reference point to which they could compare the sunset position and they would have to always make the observation from the same point. Given they had no idea of the distance to the sun they wouldn’t be aware of the requirement to always use the same observation location.

Can ancient people make accurate observations of the sunrise/sunset position at the solstice? Yes they can but when they do they will notice that it hits the southern most location on only one day.

(George Brooks) #54


Quote your source on the five days.

I myself have not once bumped into an “appearance of a 5 day pause”. But I would love to be corrected. Since I have only heard of the 3 day appearance of a pause, you can understand why I didn’t attempt to distinguish between the two periods.

By the way, I’m not yet convinced that any of the ancient astronomers could consistently distinguish or perceive 1 one hundredth of a degree. That would be something like 14 minutes difference, right?.. 14 minutes out of 365 days.

I figure the Vatican had the resources to accomplish a distinction in solar readings of 14 minutes… but did the Egyptians or the Babylonians?


Ignorance? Sorry that a YouTube video wasn’t on my list of research. Virtually every astronomical claim on that video was invented out of thin air. The Southern Cross (Crux) constellation was discovered in the mid-15th century, and so has no relevance to the December 25th date of Christmas.

I’m still aware of no archaeological/textual evidence of a December 25th date of any signifance before Christmas. Offering a Zeitgest-type youtube video isn’t changing that.

(George Brooks) #56


Oh for goodness sake… I disavow the Southern Cross. It wasn’t a clip to prove the southern cross. Obviously the fellow who made the video thinks it’s better than sliced bread… so he pulls in other ideas…

The video clip to show you what it was meant by the 3 day pause.

And that is not made up. That is exactly what happens between the Winter Solstice and December 25.

That’s actually why the suffix “stice” is in the word Solstice!

1200-50; < Middle English < Old French < Latin sōlstitium,
equivalent to sōl sun

  • -stit-, combining form of stat-,
    variant stem of sistere to make stand (see stand)
  • -ium -ium; see -ice)

(Ronald Myers) #57

To answer Jonathan Burke’s question about which holiday. From memory I would answer Saturnalia. Now looking it up in Wikipedia, the dates are close but not exact. It is unlikely that the Romans had a second holiday follow closely on this one so I conclude that there is a date error of some sort. It could be anything from the date for Saturnalia moved from the time it was noted in the Roman historical record to the time Christmas was established to simply that the two dates are not at all connected. One should be cautious in using the classical writers since a date from one century may not apply to all Roman era centuries. As important is the need to think of December 25 as anything but an arbitrary choice. What Christian doctrine or practice would change if either December 25 were known to be the exact date, or that the exact date was some other date? Indeed, what doctrine would change if we decided to celebrate Christmas on October 20th?


I checked out your dictionary link and Washington Post link. Neither of them mentioned the 25th of December. This entire three days sub thing after the solstice is astronomical fiction.

The only thing I found about the suffice -stice is from wiktionary that says it’s the proto-Germanic word for prick/sting/stitch.

I don’t know if that’s what you’re looking for. There is no pagan celebration on the 25th, moderners made that up to attack Christmas.

On the evidence for Jesus

There is no date of error, Saturnalia is on a different day than Christmas. If you looked hard enough, you could probably find a pagan celebration close to almost any time of the year.

The origins of the 25th of December date are pretty well understood, you should scroll up this forum. In either the late 2nd or 3rd century, some people started claiming that the date of Jesus conception was March 25th. Since women are pregnant for nine months, some ancients thought “if Jesus conception was March 25th, and he was born nine months later, the date of Jesus birth must be December 25th.” Just read a book written by a historian, it’s not a secret.

(Jon) #60

I already dealt with Saturnalia. The dates are all different. Here’s what I wrote.

Nor was December 25 connected with Saturnalia; this festival was typically celebrated on December 17, sometimes from December 14 to 17,[34] [35] and even when it was later extended to a week it still ended on December 23, not December 25.[36] [37]

Additionally, there is no positive historical evidence indicating that Saturnalia was influential on the choice of December 25 as the date of the birth of Jesus, still less the much later celebration of the feast of the nativity which came to be known as Christmas. This absence of evidence is not positive evidence that Saturnalia was not influential in such a way (that would be an argument from silence), but it is negative evidence contra-indicating the theory that Saturnalia was influential in such a way.

[34] ‘But all our surviving calendars that preserve the month of December mark 17 December as the date for the Saturnalia. In his discussion of the origins of the Saturnalia, Macrobius explains that the Saturnalia was often celebrated over three days from 14 to 17 December, since the former was the date given by the Numan calendar, the latter the date given by the Julian calendar after Caesar added two days to the month.’, Newlands, ‘Statiu’s Silvae and the poetics of Empire’, p. 236 (2006).
[35] ‘The Saturnalia occupy a position exactly between the Consualia of the 15th and the Opalia of the 19th of December.’, Versnel, ‘Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion 2: Transition and reversal in myth’, p. 165 (1993).
[36] ‘Eventually, the carnival expanded to a full seven days, December 17 to 23.’, Littleton, ‘Gods, goddesses, and mythology’, volume 11, p. 1255 (2005).