God of the Week: Osiris
God of the Week 12/28/09: Osiris
Osiris was an ancient Egyptian god, principally of the afterlife, as well as grain and fertility. He was the son of the god Geb and the goddess Nut. He was the brother/husband of Isis (times were different, apparently). Inscriptions to Osiris have been found on the Palermo Stone, which has been dated to 2,500 BCE, and the religion appears to have been practiced until the 6th Century CE.
Osiris was originally the local god of the city of Ded(u) (also called Dedet) in the Delta, which the Greeks termed Busiris, i. e. “Home of Osiris,” and where a strangely shaped pillar with circular projections separating bands of various colours was his symbol,^ At a rather early date he became a cosmic deity, and after oscillating between symbolizing either the sun or the sky, he finally developed into the god of changing nature in the widest sense. Thus he could become the divinity of the most important change, I. e. death, and could be evolved into the patron of the souls of the departed and king of the lower world, being at the same time the lord of resurrection and of new and eternal life.
-The Mythology of All Races, Vol XII, Egyptian and Indo-Chinese
by W Max Muller, Louis Herbert Gray, Editor
There have been parallels made between the Egyptian god Osiris and the Christian god Jesus by many scholars, such as E.A. Wallis Budge, Bruce Metzger, G.A. Wells, and D.M. Murdock (Acharya S) in her book Christ in Egypt. These theories remain controversial, however there are many overt similarities between the practices, such as a passion play of the death and rebirth of Osiris that was enacted as a means of worship and proselytism, as well as sacred meals similar to the Christian communion.
The Osiris religion did continue to be practiced until the 6th century CE despite all pagan religions being outlawed by Theodosius in the 4th century. It was the emperor Justinian that finally ordered all temples destroyed and the priests arrested.