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A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world’s first known reference to Christ.

A bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., is engraved with what may be the world's first known reference to Christ. The engraving reads, "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS," which has been interpreted to mean either, "by Christ the magician" or, "the magician by Christ."

A bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., is engraved with what may be the world’s first known
reference to Christ. The engraving reads, “DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS,” which has been interpreted to mean either, “by Christ the
magician” or, “the magician by Christ.”

If the word “Christ” refers to the Biblical Jesus Christ, as is speculated, then the discovery may provide evidence that Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world.

The full engraving on the bowl reads, “DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS,” which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, “by Christ the magician” or, “the magician by Christ.”

“It could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ, in that he was once the primary exponent of white magic,” Goddio, co-founder of the Oxford Center of Maritime Archaeology, said.

He and his colleagues found the object during an excavation of the underwater ruins of Alexandria’s ancient great harbor. The Egyptian site also includes the now submerged island of Antirhodos, where Cleopatra’s palace may have been located.

Both Goddio and Egyptologist David Fabre, a member of the European Institute of Submarine Archaeology, think a “magus” could have practiced fortune telling rituals using the bowl. The Book of Matthew refers to “wisemen,” or Magi, believed to have been prevalent in the ancient world.

According to Fabre, the bowl is also very similar to one depicted in two early Egyptian earthenware statuettes that are thought to show a soothsaying ritual.

“It has been known in Mesopotamia probably since the 3rd millennium B.C.,” Fabre said. “The soothsayer interprets the forms taken by the oil poured into a cup of water in an interpretation guided by manuals.”

He added that the individual, or “medium,” then goes into a hallucinatory trance when studying the oil in the cup.

“They therefore see the divinities, or supernatural beings appear that they call to answer their questions with regard to the future,” he said.

The magus might then have used the engraving on the bowl to legitimize his supernatural powers by invoking the name of Christ, the scientists theorize.

Goddio said, “It is very probable that in Alexandria they were aware of the existence of Jesus” and of his associated legendary miracles, such as transforming water into wine, multiplying loaves of bread, conducting miraculous health cures, and the story of the resurrection itself.

While not discounting the Jesus Christ interpretation, other researchers have offered different possible interpretations for the engraving, which was made on the thin-walled ceramic bowl after it was fired, since slip was removed during the process.

Bert Smith, a professor of classical archaeology and art at Oxford University, suggests the engraving might be a dedication, or present, made by a certain “Chrestos” belonging to a possible religious association called Ogoistais.

Klaus Hallof, director of the Institute of Greek inscriptions at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy, added that if Smith’s interpretation proves valid, the word “Ogoistais” could then be connected to known religious groups that worshipped early Greek and Egyptian gods and goddesses, such as Hermes, Athena and Isis.

Hallof additionally pointed out that historians working at around, or just after, the time of the bowl, such as Strabon and Pausanias, refer to the god “Osogo” or “Ogoa,” so a variation of this might be what’s on the bowl. It is even possible that the bowl refers to both Jesus Christ and Osogo.

Fabre concluded, “It should be remembered that in Alexandria, paganism, Judaism and Christianity never evolved in isolation. All of these forms of religion (evolved) magical practices that seduced both the humble members of the population and the most well-off classes.”

“It was in Alexandria where new religious constructions were made to propose solutions to the problem of man, of God’s world,” he added. “Cults of Isis, mysteries of Mithra, and early Christianity bear witness to this.”

Jennifer Viegas
Discovery News

How life emerged from non-life has been a central question, puzzling scientists and theologists. A new theory could answer the question – and throw out the need for God.

A writer on the website of Richard Dawkins’ foundation says that the theory has put God “on the ropes” and has “terrified” Christians.

It proposes that life did not emerge by accident or luck from a primordial soup and a bolt of lightning. Instead, life itself came about by necessity – it follows from the laws of nature and is as inevitable as rocks rolling downhill.

The problem for scientists attempting to understand how life began is understanding how living beings – which tend to be far better at taking energy from the environment and dissipating it as heat – could come about from non-living ones.

But a new theory, proposed by a researcher at MIT and first reported in Quanta Magazine, proposes that when a group of atoms is exposed for a long time to a source of energy, it will restructure itself to dissipate more energy. The emergence of life might not be the luck of atoms arranging themselves in the right way, it says, but an inevitable event if the conditions are correct.

“You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,” England said.

Paul Rosenberg, writing this week on Richard Dawkins’ site, said that the theory could make things “a whole lot worse for creationists”.

As Rosenberg notes, the idea that life could have evolved from non-living things is one that has been held for some time, and was described by the pre-Socratic philosophers. But England’s theory marks the first time that has been convincingly proposed since Darwin, and is backed by mathematical research and a proposal that can be put to the test.

Andrew Griffin
The Independent

“Christianity was invented by a little known family of Roman Caesars, the Flavians; and they left us documents to prove it.”

Caesars Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to invent Jesus
Fritz Heede, Nijole Sparkis, USA, UK, Australia, Italy, 2012, 84 min

Synopsis via

The origin of the Christian religion has been a subject steeped in mystery for nearly 2000 years. Who was Jesus? Is he an historical character? Who wrote the Gospels? Why are they written in Greek? Why did they have a pro-Roman and anti-semitic perspective? Why was the religion headquartered in Rome? Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus is a documentary based on the best‐selling religious studies book by JOSEPH ATWILL. ATWILL is one of a number of scholars today from all around the world, who are questioning the historic facts behind these mysterious origins of Christianity. When examining the actual history of this era, many of the answers provided by the Church do not hold up to rigorous scrutiny. No doubt, Christianity has done a lot of good for the world, but a lot of bad has come from its most dogmatic believers, who create wars, hatred, and other harm under the disguise of religion. In studying how Christianity emerged, the seven controversial Bible scholars featured in this film agree that it was used as a political tool to control the masses of the day, and is still being used this way today. For example, support for the wars in the Middle East is preached to Evangelical Christians as a way to speed up the coming of the End of Days. Maybe we need to expand the possible answers about how Christianity originated, and deeper questions need to be asked. Maybe we need to examine what political motives were behind the formation of the Christian religion?

The documentary begins with a brief history of the political and religious climate of Judea in the first century CE – the era during which Christianity emerged. Judea was occupied by the Roman Empire, which required them to worship Caesar as a god. The Jews found this blasphemous, and they waged constant rebellions against the Empire. Their religious scriptures prophesied that a militaristic warrior Messiah would defeat the Romans and lead the Jews to liberation. A string of numerous Messiahs presented themselves to lead the people in war against Rome, only to be defeated and crucified – a customary Roman punishment for insurgents of the day. However, the Roman government was growing weaker from over a century of increasingly corrupt rule by the Julio‐Claudian dynasty — the last emperor of this lineage being Nero, who was bankrupting the Empire with his self‐indulgence. In their greatest victory, the messianic Jews finally succeeded in burning Rome and driving the Romans out of Judea. This caused Nero to call upon his best military men, the Flavians – Vespasian and his son Titus — to crush the rebellion for good. The Flavians succeeded not only in destroying the Jewish towns of Galilee and their temple in Jerusalem, but after Nero was deposed and committed suicide, they seized the throne through a military coup and took over reign of the Roman Empire itself. Under the Flavians, the Empire flourished, and many great monuments were built including the famous Coliseum. In order to pacify the Jewish rebellion, they captured and burned all the Jews’ scriptures. It is around this time that a new literature emerged with the story of a very different Jewish Messiah – one who preached “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s”, “turn the other cheek”, and “love your enemy”.

The Triumph of Titus (1885) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Triumph of Titus (1885) by SIR LAWRENCE ALMA-TADEMA

The second half of the documentary focuses on the documents the Flavians left behind which prove their authorship of the Gospels. The Bible scholars deconstruct the Gospels and the character Jesus, showing that they are based on archetypes found in the ancient pagan mystery schools and in earlier Jewish literature. Much of the teachings of Christianity are traced back to the writings of Philo of Alexandria — who was combining Jewish scripture with Greek pagan beliefs — and Stoicism, a philosophy promoted by the Flavians. When the Flavians seized control of the Roman Empire, they needed to legitimize their rule, so they had their Jewish court historian Josephus (originally Yosef ben Matityahu who adopted the name Titus Flavius Josephus) create a large body of work which became the only official history we have of the Jewish-Roman War.

Bible scholar JOSEPH ATWILL noticed many parallels between this historic account of the war and the events in the life of Jesus in the Gospels. Through his study of the ancient Greek texts and his discovery of an antiquated Hebrew literary genre, he found dozens of parallels between the Jesus story and the war history that occurred in the exact same sequence. This shows that the events of Jesus’ life which supposedly took place forty years earlier, were actually all dependent on the events in the military campaign of the Roman Caesar Titus Flavius. Ancient texts were much more allegorical, multi-layered and complex than today’s writing, and when you read the Gospels and the histories of Josephus side by side, a new meaning arises which reveals the authors of the Gospels to be the Roman Flavian Caesars, their co-conspirators, and their literary team.

Along the way, the Bible scholars show how the Roman Imperial Cult — set up to worship Caesar as a god — formed the basis for the Roman Catholic Church, and that some of the Church’s first saints were members of the Flavian court. ATWILL also shows how the “second coming of the Christ” referred to a historical event that already occurred.

Featuring scholars JOSEPH ATWILL, ROBERT EISENMAN, JOHN HUDSON, KEN HUMPHREYS, ROB BLACKHIRST, ACHARY S / D.M. MURDOCK, and TIMOTHY FREKE, this ground-breaking documentary not only gives us a revolutionary new understanding of the origins of Christianity, but shows how the political use of religion is still affecting our personal lives today. We currently live on the brink of an immense paradigm shift, and this modern time is very parallel to the era in which Christianity emerged. Studying this ancient era can give us the much-needed perspective for coming up with solutions to today’s problems, so we can create the better world that we envision.

Titus Flavius Vespasianus AKA Jesus


5 reasons to suspect that Jesus never existed (September 1, 2014)
Ancient Confession Found: ‘We Invented Jesus Christ’ (October 9, 2013)
The Holy Bible Contradictions (August 21, 2013)
Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, according to analysis of scores of scientific studies stretching back over decades (August 13, 2013)
(The) Untold History of the Bible (2009) by CHRISTIAN J. PINTO (February 23, 2013)
La névrose chrétienne (1976) par le Docteur PIERRE SOLIGNAC (May 25, 2012)
Religulous (2008) by Larry Charles (September 24, 2010)

Sonic Outlaws
Craig Baldwin, USA, 1995, 87 min

‘Within days after the release of Negativland‘s clever parody of U2 and Casey Kasem, recording industry giant Island Records descended upon the band with a battery of lawyers intent on erasing the piece from the history of rock music.

Craig Baldwin follows this and other intellectual property controversies across the contemporary arts scene. Playful and ironic, his cut-and-paste collage-essay surveys the prospects for an “electronic folk culture” in the midst of an increasingly commodified corporate media landscape.’


Les relations ANGLO-FRANCO dans le cinéma québécois, cinquième partie

Le confort et l’indifférence
Denys Arcand, Canada, 1981, 109 min

Un grand documentaire sur le Québec et un éditorial cinématographique virulent à l’occasion du référendum de mai 1980 sur la souveraineté-association. Couvrant les événements, le cinéaste sort la défaite référendaire du Parti québécois de son contexte local et la confronte au jugement de l’Histoire, en la soumettant au feu d’une critique acerbe sous la forme de citations extraites de l’œuvre de Nicolas Machiavel (magnifiquement interprété par Jean-Pierre Ronfard).

Les relations ANGLO-FRANCO dans le cinéma québécois, quatrième partie

Le mouton noir
Jacques Godbout, Canada, 1992, 230 min 42 s

Véritable chronique d’une année qui s’annonçait capitale dans l’histoire du Québec et du Canada, ce long métrage documentaire se penche sur l’après-Meech en convoquant certains personnages publics et historiques. Une œuvre qui incite à la réflexion politique.

Les héritiers du mouton noir
Jacques Godbout, Canada, 2003, 80 min

Portrait d’une société québécoise en mutation au lendemain des 2 référendums. À travers les réflexions de 5 politiciens, il procède à un rappel historique des événements qui se sont inscrits dans le sillage de la Révolution tranquille, pose la question de l’avenir du Québec, soulignant la soif de changement des Québécois et l’émergence de nouvelles valeurs.

Les relations ANGLO-FRANCO dans le cinéma québécois, troisième partie

Speak White
Pierre Falardeau et Julien Poulin, Canada, 1980, 6 min

Court métrage réalisé à partir d’un poème de Michèle Lalonde, créé en 1970 à l’occasion de de la première Nuit de la poésie à Montréal. Le texte se déroule sur un montage de photos chocs appuyées d’une trame sonore suggestive, dans un film dénonçant l’impérialisme économique et culturel des classes dominantes.

Le Temps Des Bouffons
Pierre Falardeau, Canada, tourné en 1985 mais diffusé seulement en 1993, 15 min

Finalisé plusieurs années après son tournage en 1985, le film utilise le banquet du Beaver Club pour dénoncer le régime colonialiste qui, depuis la défaite des plaines d’Abraham, est imposé au peuple québécois par le conquérant anglais.

Les relations ANGLO-FRANCO dans le cinéma québécois, deuxième partie

Le sort de l’Amérique
Jacques Godbout, Canada, 1996, 81 min 28 s

Après la bataille des plaines d’Abraham, le 13 septembre 1759, le monde ne sera plus jamais le même. Tout pays est fondé sur un mythe, le Canada est né de cette guerre entre la France et l’Angleterre où les deux généraux qui s’affrontaient, le marquis de Montcalm et James Wolfe, sont morts de leurs blessures.

Les relations ANGLO-FRANCO dans le cinéma québécois, première partie

Le journal de madame Wollock
Gilles Blais, Canada, 1979, 27 min 56 s

Ce court métrage documentaire tente de retracer la réaction d’une partie de la communauté anglophone du Québec au lendemain de la victoire du Parti québécois de René Lévesque en 1976. À travers ses textes éditoriaux publiés dans The Suburban, un hebdomadaire anglophone de quartier appartenant à sa famille, Sophie Wollock traduit « l’inquiétude, la frustration, l’anxiété… et la peur » que bon nom de ses lecteurs éprouvent devant la montée du nationalisme québécois.


Le chat dans le sac (1964) de GILLES GROULX (April 7, 2014, à la toute fin de l’entrevue)
Québec Soft (1985) de JACQUES GODBOUT (June 24, 2011)
Mon oncle Antoine (1971) de CLAUDE JUTRA (December 24, 2010)
Les événements d’octobre 1970 (1974) de ROBIN SPRY (October 6, 2010)

esse arts + opinions, numéro 83, Hiver 2015

Le retour en force de la religion dans les débats sociopolitiques et philosophiques actuels est un phénomène sur lequel la revue esse s’est penché pour tenter d’en saisir les échos dans le champ des arts visuels. Dans la foulée des discussions qui ont cours depuis quelques années sur la place de la religion dans l’art contemporain, ce dossier interroge la manière dont les artistes réagissent face à cette problématique.

Ainsi, que ce soit par la création d’œuvres de fiction à caractère critique ou humoristique, par l’emprunt, la subversion ou l’amalgame des codes religieux, par des références directes ou symboliques, ou encore par la reproduction de certains rituels, les œuvres mises en valeur dans ce numéro abordent le thème des religions par l’entremise de problématiques qui révèlent le caractère actuel de sa prégnance.

esse arts + opinions, numéro 83, Hiver 2015

esse arts + opinions, numéro 83, Hiver 2015


Liturgie Apocryphe

"The production of nervous force is directly connected with the diet of an individual, and its refining depends on the very purity of this diet, allied to appropriate breathing exercises.

The diet most calculated to act effectively on the nervous force is that which contains the least quantity of animal matter; therefore the Pythagorean diet, in this connection, is the most suitable.


The main object was to avoid introducing into the organism what Descartes called 'animal spirits'. Thus, all animals that had to serve for the nourishment of the priests were slaughtered according to special rites, they were not murdered, as is the case nowadays".