The Jesus Papyrus And More About The Magi
A title like this rather obviously belongs to the probings and research of Pluto in Sagittarius, the religion sign. The feature itself has been prompted by the publication of two successful books I am reviewing here because of their intrinsic significance and because they link to claims and theories I have been discussing in recent articles.
The Jesus Papyrus
The Jesus Papyrus (1996) by German papyrologist, Carsten Thiede, and award winning journalist, Matthew D’Ancona, is a hugely important book – for its implications, but it is not for everyone. It is of a rather scholarly and specialized nature and a good part of its report embraces issues of Greek and papyrology. That it has become an international best-seller doubtless has a lot to do with the book’s central claim and even its draw card title which places it squarely within the large market in Jesus books generally. Many members of the public, weary of the sensationalist gnostic and/or scholarly demolitions of the gospels, which publishers have been doing a roaring trade in over the last decade, are ready for whatever promises damage control, and authenticity for their battered and maligned faith, which this book does.
I shall not try to summarize the detailed arguments supporting Thiede’s view that small scraps of a Matthew’s gospel, discovered early this century in Egypt and preserved in Magdalen College Oxford, date from before Jerusalem’s fall in 70AD thus implying an earlier, eyewitness account of the gospels. Sufficient to say that as Matthew is quite likely the second gospel the evidence presented would make Mark early indeed. And given this revised dating the whole issue of early belief in the divinity of Jesus is also seen in a new light. Modern scholars have increasingly suggested that the divinity of Jesus was a late developped theme, a name put upon the lived experience of Jesus. What, by contrast, the papyrus reveals is references to Jesus, Christ, Lord etc abbreviated or capitalized in ways imitative of existing Jewish scribal references to God alone thus implying that as far back as we can go in the faith Jesus was acknowledged as the divine incarnation.
In one of the most accessible chapters of the book, Chapter 6 about Scribes, one learns about oral and written transmission in the ancient world which included short-hand systems which make it not impossible that passages of the gospels like Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount could represent direct quotation. This idea especially interests me because I had long felt parts of Matthew (with some sections of John) were closest to the original voice of Jesus. In Signs for a Messiah against a popular scholarly view expressed in The Five Gospels issued by the California Jesus Seminar, which proposes Matthew’s parable of the Ten Maidens is completely inauthentic, I had suggested this parable is probably the closest to the style, tone and use of imagery of Jesus one could imagine given the data I had been using.
So today because of that data I am interested in whatever connections, astrologically, discoveries and publications such as Thiede’s may have in relation to Jesus because it is my experience that any major statements or controversies about him will register positively or negatively upon what I had called the Joshua chart for Christ’s birth. The Pentecost chart for Christianity can also be affected. As regards the Jesus Papyrus I do have evidence for this activatation in both cases but important though this is I still think overall something else is being pointed to that is not principally about Jesus or the Church and we shall see what this is. However . . .
News on Christmas Eve
The world first knew something about a Jesus papyrus and its potential significance on Christmas Eve 1994 when it was announced on the front page of The Times newspaper in London. I don’t know at what time The Times can be considered issued – around midnight or even late the day before when tomorrow’s headlines are read on late night TV news summaries – but on Christmas Eve the moon at midnight was at 9 of Virgo in departing trine to Mercury at around 8 of Capricorn basically a sign of positive news. This position means the moon, the trigger to events on a daily basis, was also coming to conjunct Pluto at 10 of Virgo in the fourth house of origins and the past – exactly what was about to be presented to the world, in the natus of Christ.
At the same time the Capricorn Mercury was in qunicunx to the image-related ascendant of my chart for Christ which shows 8 degrees of Gemini rising. As Mercury rules both the sun and the ascendant of the Joshua chart obviously Mercury’s transits are important in any Christ issues. Quincunxes represent difficult adjustments to be made and the new information evidently represented that for theologians where their image of Jesus was concerned. The conservative failure of many to welcome Thiede’s breakthrough is possibly mapped in additiion by Saturn in Pisces (same sign as in Christ’s natus) in afflicting square to this image-making ascendant. Are his theologians a cause of Saturnian grief to Jesus one wonders? Perhaps.
In the event Thiede’s revelations were set to cause ecclesiastical furor, striking as they do at a major contemporary trend in late dating and demythologizing treatment of the gospels among the liberal/rationalist establishment of Bible scholars (the book happens to show just how well entrenched this establishment is and in some respects intolerant). Suitably, then, challenging argumentative Mars is in square to Jupiter, planet of religion and religious authorities. It is so from 2 of Virgo (Christ’s own birth sign) to 3 of Sagittarius, Jupiter’s natural sign and sign of organized religion. But at 3 of Sagittarius, this Jupiter is opposing the 3 degree Gemini sun of Pentecost so that the church is well and truly challenged by these discoveries. However, the significance of the moment for future developments and research is signalled rather by transiting Pluto at 29 of Scorpio, sign of secrets. We find it is exactly opposite the fated nodes of Pentecost at 29 of Taurus.
So there’s undoubtedly signficance here but, as said, I still believe we are looking at something else. With sun, Mercury, Neptune and Uranus all in Capricorn we are looking at something to do with that sign which is represented in neither the chart of Jesus nor that of the Church. For one thing we are of course connecting to the story of the much disappointed Rev Huleatt who said his whole life was a failure. Not only did he not live to know he had discovered possibly the most important artefact of early Christiantiy but he died in the Sicilian earthquake of January 1908. The quake destroyed most testimonies to him like his writings and letters which could have supplied him a biography. (Note that Huleatt died when Ptuto exactly conjuncted his natal Uranus, A planet much associated with quakes and I would judge his additional loss as it were of his identity as an intellectual was involved with Saturn conjuncting his Neptune, a planet which rules anonymity, and which birthtime rectification might well show had been conjunct his natal 4th of endings).
So it is that little is known about the Evangelical Movement scholar, Charles Huleatt, who graduated at an Oxford which had little time for the material he forwarded to it from Egypt where he was several years chaplain at the Thomas Cook founded Luxor Hotel. Luxor was a convenient centre from which to pursue his papyrological interests. But we do know this scholar was born under Libra on 19th October 1863.
The Forgotten Scholar
No birth time is given but since Huleatt had a nagging sense of failure and his parents were from different backgrounds one can take it as virtually guaranteed that he had a natal sun square moon. Accordingly a noon chart is appropriate as not far from the truth and we can assume we should have around 21/22 degrees of a gloomy and ambitious moon in Capricorn. We can further expect, as proves to be the case, that around this degree area will be aspected in the course of the history of Huleatt and his papyrus.
Certainly this happened on the Christmas Eve of ’94 at which time this moon was still under the influence of the year’s Neptune/Uranus conjunction. (Neptune at 22 and Uranus at 24 of Capricorn). This degree area had moreover been activated at the time of Carsten Thiede’s rediscovery and act of recognition which occurred at Oxford “in February 1994”. Though we aren’t informed what part of February, the first 10 days fell under the influence of a January lunation at 21 of Capricorn while the rest of the month fell under the Aquarius lunation also at 21 degrees which at least trined a natal Uranus.
Of course, rather more than just activation of the moon was needed to draw public attention to the long forgotten Reverend in early and late ’94. Not insignificantly, on Christmas Eve, Pluto. the most powerful of planets, was conjunct his natal nodes at 29 of Scorpio. This in turn means it challengingly linked him at that time to Christianity as a whole since the nodes of Pentecost fall opposite this point at 29 of Taurus.
What else in his natal chart allowed Huleatt his discovery and belated publicity? He was born with sun in Libra at 25 degrees trine Uranus in Gemini at 24, an aspect which in itself could facilitate decoding ability, peculiar finds and insights; but it also presumably associated him with religion in a special way because in the last century his Uranus would have been opposite the Galactic Centre (events in religion). I have suggested elsewhere my own discovery of the Joshua chart is connected to natal Uranus opposite the GC which was activated at the time of discovery.
But we began by speaking of a Jesus papyrus. No student or critic of any notable figure can work on or be associated with that person without there are quite specific ties between their respective charts. So Huleatt would need to have this in relation to Jesus and he does so to this extent. His Jupiter, planet of religion, falls at 5 of Scorpio, sign of research and secrets – which is what he dealt in – and this Jupiter conjuncts the vital Joshua chart Venus/Neptune conjunction at 3 and 4 of Scorpio.
The hidden Matthew
But unless one stretches things to count Huleatt’s Saturn in Libra within two degrees conjunct the Mercury of the Joshua chart there really isn’t more and it would be reasonable to expect it – unless and until one thinks more about who or what is involved. Strictly speaking this is NOT a Jesus papyrus but rather the Matthew Papyrus and Matthew looms large in this whole study. The fact that Matthew/Levi had been a tax collector who would have practiced a certain required shorthand in itself raises interesting questions about transmittion of gospel text and the literal words of Christ. So, though it is unprovable it is very likely that, assuming Thiede is correct, what we are looking at in the various transits as they affect Huleatt and knowledge of the papyrus, is connections to the natal chart of the apostle Matthew. Now although scholars would obviously not be interested in the evidence for this seemingly unknowable subject a peculiar form of it does exist.
According to an ancient tradition surfacing in the Greek church, the twelve apostles corresponded to the twelve signs. Over the centuries there have inevitably been a number of speculative variations upon the original pattern which begins with Peter as Aries and ends with Judas as Pisces. But the Greek pattern has received an allegedly divine endorsement in this century through a vision vouchsated the late Washington seeress, Jeane Dixon. Truth or falsehood, the fact remains that Matthew is supposed to have been a Capricorn.
It looks then as though The Jesus Papyrus is more like the Matthew papyrus as far as the stars are concerned and it is with Matthew the nearly forgotten Rev Huleatt has a special natal relation. Very likely Matthew’s sun fell at around 21 of Capricorn. And we have every reason to expect it did because he was chosen by Jesus. The trine of his sun to that of Jesus at 20 of Virgo would be just the sort of factor necessary to reflect that he was so chosen and that he would besides leave one of the main testimonies to the life of Jesus. Thiede’s arguments have authority in their own right but additionally the astrology of what he has been engaged in give every reason to suppose he is correct.
More about Magi
As it happens the gospel of Matthew is crucial to my next subject, the Magi, whom he alone mentions. We can well ask why he did so because Matthew is the most Jewish of the gospels, the most concerned to portray Jesus as the fulfillment of Hebrew prophecy with suitable proof texts. Not only are the Magi as it were a pagan intrusion upon his record but he can link them to no specific prophecy. The task of portraying Jesus as the one whom gentile sages recognized as world redeemer could well have been left to the gentile, Luke, who didn’t take the theme up. So does this tell us anything?
An unusual travelogue
I like to keep up with theories concerning the Magi – if they are reasonably serious and significant which of course a lot of them are not. There’s a good deal that is not serious and even deliberately comic in Paul William Roberts’ The Search for the Birth of Jesus. It does supply an answer of sorts to the rarely asked and answered question about Matthew and does so in the course of what is a breezy travelogue (subtitle: The Real Journey of the Magi) with scholarly speculations. Not, however, speculations on the birth star or birth date of Christ which borders on cheating given the book’s title.
There are nevertheless interesting points and discoveries made – pure serendipity really – but, caveat lector, even at its best this is no book for the religiously sensitive. It is basically hostile and unacceprably insulting to Christ and Christianity and the author is quite simply a condescending, ill mannered bighead who, perhaps for just that reason, has been taken seriously by critics who try patience and credulity trotting out nonsense like: “Roberts writes like an angel,” “a work of radical scholarship,” “a profound exploration of the evolution of the three great modern religions” which it emphatically isn’t.
I only got to read this supposedly astonishing testimony because a friend in France sent me an old New York Times book review for it which contained just these kind of overblown claims. The following is an example of the author’s attitude and style. In praising the apocryphal Gospel of Thomashe observes that, compared to its philosophical wisdom, the canonical gospels only supply: a rather pointless story about a “‘Prince of Peace” who comes to “bring a sword,” is rude to his mother, prone to fits of violence and dies achieving absolutely nothing; which is why no one but the authors seems to care much about him.
One could well ask what this British/Welsh, American resident lapsed Catholic Oxford scholar wanted to do in attempting to discover who the Magi were the road they travelled. To exorcise a few demons perhaps, or even find a few new ones – his visit to the Iraqi church of Shaitan (Satan) does provide a peculiar insight into what happened to the faith of the original Gnostics. As the author states towards the book’s end: “the only journey is an inner one from the self to the Self” and in effect he regards the Magi as having affirmed that item of perennial wisdom by their journey and defended their belief against the kind of institutionalized faith that Christianity would, due to St Paul and Rome become, a belief system reliant upon faith and/or priesthoods – though the Magi were that! – as opposed to the inner, personal enlightenment of a unitive mysticism.
Before proceeding further let’s look at what defines this book in the aspects for its launch. According to my paperback edition, publication of the hard back version occurred in October ’95. I do find this interesting and significant. The theme of the journey/pilgrimage is announced by Jupiter in Sagittarius, i.e. the planet of religion and distance travel in the sign of organized religion with which the author has a grouse. The search for the origins of Christianity is covered by the nodes on the cusp of the 4th for Pentecost opposing its Midheaven of destiny and reputation. Pluto in Scorpio and, (depending upon the precise date of launch) either Mars or Venus in that sign, bespeaks the research and mystery being conveyed.
Most significant however is that Saturn is in Pisces during the whole month and at 18 and 19 of the sign. This means it is conjunct the degrees of the era conjunction of 7BC which is what I claim drew the attention of the Magi and under which Christ was born in September of that year. Note it is sceptical Saturn, not believing Jupiter, which makes the conjunction. This book is not about belief but rather doubt, and as Satan is traditionally symbolized by Saturn it is even in some respects the devil’s own book – at any rate discussion of evil and of Satan is unquestionably a feature. That the Pisces contact is made implies, notwithstanding, that, however negative the book is generally, something has been discovered about the Magi and their quest and I don’t doubt that this is the case.
The journey itself took place through the winter of 93/94. During that season the square of Saturn in Aquarius to Pluto in Scorpio would account for the considerable difficulty and sheer unexpected craziness (Aquarius) attending “this hellish adventure” as one critic, rightly for once, puts it. Also the rare Uranus/Neptune conjunction in Capricorn which brought out the visionary in many people probably put the author in as mystical frame of mind as he could muster in a lifetime; plus if what I say in the previous review is valid it also helped to relate him to Matthew at around 20-22 of Capricorn. Also, as this important conjunction occurred in earth in Capricorn, a sign much associated with archaeology and archaeologists, it was a favourable time for Roberts to make incidental archeological finds en route.
Continued in Part 2