Thanks so much for responding. You're the first person to provide me with any kind of evidence. I did have four other people promise to give me evidence, but I haven't heard from any of them since. I did read your entire letter and will post it, in its entirety, at my site (let me know if you don't want me to).
After spending 3 days at the university library, I was able to verify nearly all of the claims presented by Acharya S and Zeitgeist, with very minor errors in interpretation.
I don't know if you've seen the Zeitgeist Challenge site (www.zeitgeistchallenge.com ), but they're offering $250 for anyone who can prove the movie's claims. But they are asking for people to prove 100% of the claims before receiving any money, while I'm only asking for 50% of any one list(though 100% of a list if you want the full thousand).
As far as Horus and the Zeitgeist info, have you read the Companion to Zeitgeist? It has strong support for the Horus connections. Since that’s already published, as well as a new book by Prof. John Rush called Failed God that further delves into the Christian/Egyptian ties, I won’t bother to present them here, but instead refer you to these sources.
If there's evidence for them, I'll ask those who defend the movie to provide the evidence. From what I've seen, though, their "evidence" amounts to one "christ-myther" just quoting another "christ-myther", which I don't consider evidence. If these things really happened in these deity stories, then I expect to see the stories in which they happened, and no one seems to be able to find them.
I found various ancient textual sources on Jstor.org to support Mithra with 12 helpers, born of a virgin, etc, as well as Horus/ Zoroaster, etc.
I can't access www.Jstor.org. As long as the texts aren't just one christ-myther quoting another christ-myther, then please copy them for me.
The problem with the story of Mithra being misunderstood in the west is that he had a twin brother, Yima, who composed half of himself: one good, one evil. It’s sort of like the concept of Yin/Yang. Both are one, yet at the same time opposites – light/dark, day/night, good/bad, god/devil. So Mithra had 12 helpers, six of good, six of evil. Unfortunately, after going to the Library I’ve lost my document for this specific citation – I had to reinstall my Windows and lost the documents that I had saved, but I’ve found several other very good ones, below. However, if you search JStor.org at any University Library, these citations were not difficult to find.
If you can find the documents again, let me know. I need you to provide them before I'll consider you to have fulfilled those parts of my challenge. I assume you don't want me to find them myself, since, if I do, then I would owe myself the money, not you.
Just paypal me the money to this email address.
I need the documents before I'll paypal you any money. And keep in mind that you only get the full $1000 if you give evidence for all 17 items on the Mithra list. But if you can give evidence for at least half (in this case, 9), I'll give you a percentage of the money equal to the percentage of the list that you give evidence for.
A clarified/corrected list of verified similarities between Jesus and Mithra should read:
· Mithra was born on December 25th.
As you saw on my site, I don't allow the "12/25 birthday" parallel as a valid item, since Jesus almost certainly was not born on that date. If you can show that Jesus was believed, in the 1st century A.D., to have been born on that date, then I'll re-admit it.
· He had 12 companions or helpers – six good and six evil.
I'll need to see your documentation on this one before I'll consider this one fulfilled.
· He performed miracles.
Actually, I agree that he did, per pre-Christian mythology, so this one will be a "gimme" for you.
· He was buried in a rock tomb.
I didn't see any evidence in support of this one in your information. If you have any, let me know.
· After three days he rose again.
Again, I didn't see this one addressed in your letter.
· His resurrection was celebrated every year.
Or this one, at least per pre-Christian mythology.
· Mithra’s brother, Yima, was called “the Good Shepherd.”
You did address that Mithra had a brother called Yima, but I didn't see anything in your letter regarding the "Good Shepherd" title. If you can provide it for Yima, I'll consider this one fulfilled.
· Mithra was considered “the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah.”
I didn't see this one addressed in your information, either.
· He was often identified with both the Lion and the Lamb.
Or this one.
· His sacred day was Sunday, “the Lord’s Day,” hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
Or this one.
· Mithra had a principal festival on what was later to become Easter, at which time he was resurrected.
Or this one, at least for pre-Christian mythology.
· His religion had a Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper.”
You didn't address this one, either.
If you can provide evidence for all of the claims you listed above, that will be enough to get a percentage of the money. Not counting the "12/25 birthday" one, those are 11 of the 17, so you would get $647. But I do want some evidence first, and I haven't seen you provide any yet for the above claims.
An early Christian work, the 'Paschal Chronicle' (Migne ed. xcii, col. 385), tells us that every year the temples of Horus presented to worshipers, in mid-winter (or about December 25th), a scenic model of the birth of Horus. He was represented as a babe born in a stable, his mother Isis standing by. Just in the same way is the birth of Christ dramatized today in every Roman Catholic church in the world on December 25th. The Roman writer Macrobius makes the same statement about the representation of the birth of Horus in the temples…and adds that the young god was a symbol of the rebirth of the sun at that date. The fact is, at all events, beyond question. We are brought to the very threshold of Christianity. The whole world by the year 1 A.D. was familiar with the Egyptian statues or pictures of Isis with the divine babe Horus in her arms.
~ Joseph McCabe, The Story of Religious Controversy, pg. 169
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the Paschal Chronicle was written in the 7th century A.D., so this isn't evidence that Horus worshippers did this stuff prior to Jesus' time. If Horus worshippers were doing this stuff in the 7th century A.D., that doesn't suggest that it influenced what happened in the 1st century.
And I'll agree that the statue of Isis holding the baby Horus was pre-Christian, but all it proves is that Horus had a mommy, as did Jesus. So did everyone else, for that matter, so it doesn't suggest any specific parallel between Horus and Jesus.
In 375 CE, Epiphanius, Biship of Constantia, described the similarities between Jesus’ birth and the pagan winter solstice celebrations.
But we're talking about 4th-century celebrations. I think we can safely say that 4th-century celebrations didn't influence anything that happened in the 1st century.
Anyway, while the rest of your letter made some interesting, though perhaps still questionable, points, I didn't see anything that specifically addressed the claims of your "clarified/corrected" list. I read the entire thing, but if you did provide some evidence for those claims that I missed, please do point it out.
Unfortunately I really, honestly, lost all of the other files that I had to support this. Fortunately, however, the university is not far. But I’ll have to dedicate a lot more time to pulling them up again and time is tight. I have a family.
I know a professor who actually reads from the Egyptian texts – tattooed head to toe – on this body. Funny, but which texts would you like? … and they’re the real scripts. Anyway, I mentioned him to you already, Professor John Rush and his new book Failed God.
I’ll be more than happy to settle for 55% of this if I don’t have to go back to the library for 3 days, cause that’s about what it will cost me anyway in time there – based on the evidence already presented… and Epiphanius is a slam dunk.
And I can prove to you about the Dec. 25 thing too… And these are church fathers arguing this, so your argument is really falsely placed. but anyway… you can chose to settle now or I’ll take you for all your money.
Am I bluffing? No. But maybe we can work something out together…
I’ve got to ask, did you read Acharya S’ new books?
Everyone attacks her work from 1999… but they miss the four books she wrote to substantiate that work. Even the famed Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Dr. Robert Eisenman endorses her work today. I know a lot of people used to try to argue that her work wasn’t academically accepted, but that’s just not so as I know several academics who’ve told me personally that they love her research – as Eisenman can attest.
I'm primarily interested in making my site as accurate as possible, so if you can provide evidence for 100% of the claims on the list, then I'd rather see all of the evidence instead of settling for only some of the evidence, even if it costs me more money. If you can provide evidence for 55% of the claims and you decide to settle for that instead of going for the full $1000, that's certainly your choice. But personally, I'd rather see you go for the full $1000. Though I do understand how family can keep you busy, having a wife and four daughters myself.
As I stated on my site, I need to see evidence for at least 50% of the claims on the list before I'll give you any of the money. And you have not given evidence for at least 50% of the claims on the list. You declared certain claims to be valid, but didn't provide any evidence that validates them. So settling now would not get you any of the money. You certainly provided a lot of information in your letter, but little if any of it provided any kind of evidence for the claims on the Mithra list.
If you can provide evidence for the "Dec 25" thing for Jesus' birthday, I would like to see it, though that's up to you. Again, I'm looking for evidence that this was believed to be Jesus' birthday in the 1st century. All evidence that I've seen so far says it was assigned in the early 4th century, or maybe late 3rd.
Info regarding your false claim to 1st century Christians and Jesus’ Dec. 25 birth.
I’ll have to see if I can get back to the library to access those academic databases again. I do have access to one other from home and I’ll see if it has any of the necessary peer reviewed journals that Jstor.org has that I’ve already gone through. There was so much there to refute your claims and not take you seriously, that it really didn’t seem necessary for me at the time to properly back up the files, and as I said I lost them.
I’m not sure if you’re aware, it doesn’t seem like it, but JStor.org is a website that hosts specifically peer reviewed academic journals. It’s not one scholar just quoting another, as you falsely accuse Acharya, et al, without even reading their books - which is clear, BTW, that you haven’t studied the material by the authors you attack. That’s always the case…
Since your own religion didn’t settle the date until the 4th century, you’re using a logical fallacy by asking me to provide documentation from the 1st century. There is none. Here I historically refute and denounce your request as based on unsound logic based on the historical distortions of your own religion. In fact, why don’t YOU provide your evidence which refutes the following, otherwise I’ll take it that you’re accepting this material as refutation against your Christian notion that Jesus was not born on Dec. 25:
"As the annual rebirth of the sun's light, the winter solstice was important in most parts of the world. In fact, the Romans already had an ancient winter festival whose seven days bracketed the solstice.... Choosing the birth of Christ as December 25 successfully integrated long-standing popular traditions with the imagery of a new religion, and the theme of renewal is still part of Christmas."
Dr. Edwin C. Krupp, Echoes of the Ancient Skies (81)
"The well-known solar feast…of Natalis Invicti, celebrated on 25 December, has a strong claim on the responsibility for our December date [for Christ's Nativity]."
Catholic Encyclopedia, "Christmas"
"An early Christian work, the 'Paschal Chronicle' (Migne ed. xcii, col. 385), tells us that every year the temples of Horus presented to worshipers, in mid-winter (or about December 25th), a scenic model of the birth of Horus. He was represented as a babe born in a stable, his mother Isis standing by. Just in the same way is the birth of Christ dramatized today in every Roman Catholic church in the world on December 25th. The Roman writer Macrobius makes the same statement about the representation of the birth of Horus in the temples…and adds that the young god was a symbol of the rebirth of the sun at that date. The fact is, at all events, beyond question. We are brought to the very threshold of Christianity. The whole world by the year 1 A.D. was familiar with the Egyptian statues or pictures of Isis with the divine babe Horus in her arms."
Joseph McCabe, The Story of Religious Controversy (169)
Although many people remain unaware of the real meaning behind "Christmas," one of the better known correspondences between pre-Christian religion and Christianity has been the celebration of the god's birth on the 25th of December. Nevertheless, it has been argued that this comparison is erroneous because Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th, an assertion in itself that would come as a surprise to many, since up until just a few years ago only a miniscule percentage of people knew such a fact. In any event, this argument constitutes a logical fallacy, because over the centuries since the holiday was implemented by Christian authorities, hundreds of millions of people have celebrated Jesus's birthday on December 25th, or Christmas, so named after Christ. Moreover, hundreds of millions continue to celebrate the 25th of December as the birth of Jesus Christ, completely oblivious to the notion that this date does not represent the "real" birthday of the Jewish son of God.1 In actuality, it would be highly refreshing for the facts regarding the true meaning of Christmas to be known around the world: To wit, "Christmas"—or the winter solstice—represents the birth of the sun god dating back millennia. Concerning the origins of this solar holiday vis-a-vis Christianity, the authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia states:
The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in [the writings of Church father] Cyprian [200-258]…"O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born…Christ should be born." 1 In 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 847, officially declaring December 25th to be the birthday of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: "Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ…"
In the fourth century, Chrysostom…says:… "But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December…the eight before the calends of January [25 December]…, But they call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord…? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice."1 As we can see from these revealing remarks, the birth of Christ at the winter solstice has been asserted since as early as the 3rd century. Moreover, the reason for this birthdate is clearly given: This date represents "the birthday of the Sun!"
Regarding Christ's birth and the establishment of Christmas, Christian apologist Thomas Thorburn relates:
The earliest church commemorated it at various times from September to March, until in 354 A.D. Pope Julius I assimilated the festival with that of the birth of Mithra (December 25), in order to facilitate the more complete Christianisation of the empire.2
Thus, Christ's birth at the winter solstice was not formalized until the fourth century—and this fact demonstrates a deliberate contrivance by Christian officials to usurp other religions, as we contend the entire Christian religion was specifically created to do. Prior to its celebration as the birthday of Jesus Christ, the 25th of December/winter solstice was claimed as the birthday for a number of other gods and godmen, including the Perso-Roman god Mithra and the Greek god Dionysus.3 So too, apparently, do we find this annual celebration in Egypt concerning the sun god, which represents the "birth" of the "new sun" after the "old sun" "dies" around December 21st (in the northern hemisphere), lying in his "tomb" or "cave" for three days and on December 25th being "born again." There appears to be frequent confusion regarding the dates of December 21st, 22nd and 25th. The fact is that all of them represent the time of the winter solstice, which begins at midnight on the 21st—equivalent to the morning of the 22nd—and ends at midnight on the 24th, which is the morning of December 25th. To summarize, in the solar myth the "death" of the "old sun" occurs as the days decrease in length towards the winter solstice, the word "solstice" meaning "sun stands still," as for three days the sun appears not to be moving south or north. Hence, it was considered "dead" and did not "return to life" until three days later, at midnight on December 24th, when it began its northerly journey again. Therefore, the ancients said the sun was born on December 25th. In this regard, it has been the frequent contention of writers since antiquity that the Egyptians likewise celebrated the birth of the sun at the winter solstice, a logical conclusion, considering the reverence with which the sun was held in Egypt . Concerning this cycle in Egypt, in "Isis and Osiris" (ch. 65), Plutarch remarked that Horus—or "Harpocrates," his Greek name—was "born about the winter solstice, unfinished and infant-like..."4 A couple of centuries after Plutarch, in his Saturnalia (I, XVIII:10), ancient Latin writer of the fourth century Macrobius also reported on this annual Egyptian "Christmas" celebration:
…at the winter solstice the sun would seem to be a little child, like that which the Egyptians bring forth from a shrine on an appointed day, since the day is then at its shortest and the god is accordingly shown as a tiny infant.5
1 CE, "Christmas."
2 Thorburn, 33.
3 Thomson, 481.
4 King, 56; cf. Babbitt, 153.
5 Macrobius/Davies, 129. The original Latin of this paragraph in Macrobius is: "…ut parvulus videatur hiemali solstitio, qualem Aegyptii proferunt ex adyto die certa, quod tunc brevissimo die veluti parvus et infans videatur…"
As to the antiquity of the Egyptian winter-solstice, solar-birth drama depicted by Plutarch and Macrobius, Professor Orlando P. Schmidt makes some interesting claims regarding the Egyptian king Amenemhet or Amenemhat I (c. 1991/1985-c. 1962/1956 BCE), called in Greek "Amenemes" or "Ammenemes," founder of the 12th dynasty: Now, as the sun of the Sothiac year reached the winter solstice in the seventeenth year of the reign of King Amenemes I, he assumed the title of Nem-mestu, meaning "Re-born," in commemoration of his birth as Harpokrates.1 Thus, according to Schmidt the birth of Harpocrates at the winter solstice apparently dates back to almost 2,000 years prior to the Christian era, a tradition evidently verified by Plutarch.
This epithet "Nem-mestu" is the king's "Horus name" and means "repeater of births," "repetition of births" or "reborn." Regarding this title, Budge says:..."nem mestu," i.e., "repeater of births," the allusion being to the idea that the king was like the Sun-god Re who was reborn daily; this title became a great favorite with the kings of the XIIth Dynasty.2
Budge thus verifies that this particular Horus name was indeed popular in the dynasty in question. Intriguingly, according to Budge the Egyptian word for winter solstice is nen, which would make a Horus name of "Nen-mestu" equivalent to "born of the winter solstice."
Also according to Budge, citing German Egyptologist Professor Heinrich Brugsch, the hieroglyphic for the winter solstice reveals two deities holding the sun with its rays extending down over an ankh,3 the symbol of life. If these two deities surrounding the sun being given life are indeed Osiris and Isis, as they appear to be, this hieroglyph would represent a clear indication that their child, Horus, was in fact born at the winter solstice. In any case, this Horus name "repeaters of births" as a reflection of the sun god's birth, whether daily, annually or both, dates back thousands of years in Egypt , and the significance of the winter solstice in Egypt , as well as its perception as the birth of the sun god, seems evident.
In the Egyptian language, Harpocrates is "Her-pa-chruti" or "Heru-pa-Chrat," "the morning sun."4 On the subject of Plutarch and Harpocrates, Budge remarks:
The curious legend which Plutarch relates concerning Harpocrates and the cause of his lameness is probably based upon the passage in the history of Osiris and Isis given in a hymn to Osiris of the XVIIIth Dynasty.5
Budge never seems to return to this "curious legend," apparently coming from chapter 19 of Plutarch, which omits the pertinent part about Harpocrates representing the weak or "lame" sun of the winter solstice, as in chapter 65. Concerning the Osirian myth presented in Plutarch, in Egyptian Ideas of the Future, Budge remarks:
When we examine this story by the light of the results of hieroglyphic decipherment, we find that a large portion of it is substantiated by Egyptian texts...6
Budge proceeds to name many of the most significant details from Plutarch as having been verified by hieroglyphics, including texts, inscriptions, papyri, etc. The passage from
1 Schmidt, 19.
2 Budge, EUGPB, 190.
3 Budge, AEHD, 351.
4 Budge, TM, 271-272.
5 Budge, EBD, cvi.
6 Budge, EITFL, 35.
Plutarch quoted here by Budge is also from chapter 19 and, again, although mentioning the birth of Harpocrates, lacks the pertinent part about the winter solstice found in chapter 65.
In neither book, in fact, does Budge describe the assertion in chapter 65. Perhaps as a professed Christian, Budge did not wish to reproduce these significant remarks concerning the "Christmas" birth of the Egyptian sun god. From comments by various writers of the time, it appears there was indeed a debate as to whether or not to accept the "opinions of the Greek" with regard to Harpocrates's nature as the sun born at the winter solstice. One must therefore ask whether or not this debate about the "correctness" of the ancient Greeks in their assertions regarding this figure—a debate continued by apologists today—has been based on scientific reasoning or religious prejudice, representing an intentional suppression and censorship of pertinent data. And, if the bulk of Plutarch's summary of the myth of Osiris, Isis and Horus is sustainable through Egyptian writings, as Budge himself states, can we not assume that this winter-solstice part would be reliable as well?
If Horus was not born at the winter solstice, why does Plutarch state that he was, in his form as Harpocrates or Horus the Child? Why does Macrobius record an Egyptian festival of apparent antiquity that celebrated the birth of the baby sun at the winter solstice? Would the Egyptians—who were so keenly aware of astronomy, solar mythology and astrotheology—truly be completely oblivious to, or deliberately unaffected by, the revered status of the sun at the winter solstice? Certainly the Egyptians were highly conscious of the all-important solstices—as demonstrated abundantly by the al ignments of their monuments—could they possibly fail to integrate them into their solar religion?
Indeed, according to Budge the solstices were personified as gods. In fact, Budge claims that the personification of the winter solstice is the god "Ap-uat,"1 while Renouf says Apuat is "identical with Osiris."2 Thus, Osiris would represent the winter solstice, making this time of year highly significant to the Egyptians.
Furthermore, it is agreed that in Egypt "the summer solstice was paramount, for it heralded the rise of the Nile ."3 As Herodotus states, the Nile began to overflow around the summer solstice—specifically named as such by Herodotus (1:19). The Greek historian further remarks that the river continues to rise for about 100 days, at which point it levels off and then starts to drop again, remaining low throughout winter.4 This life-giving time of year was so important to the Egyptians that at periods over the millennia they opened the new year with the summer inundation of the Nile .
During other periods, apparently, the year began at the winter solstice, which would be indicative that such a time was considered the "birth of the sun," as in so many other cultures. In Horae Aegyptiacae: Or, the Chronology of Ancient Egypt , Discovered from Astronomical and Hieroglyphic Records Upon Its Monuments, Egyptologist and professor of Archaeology Dr. Reginald Stuart Poole, another Keeper at the British Museum , states: "The Season of the Waters," in the ancient nomenclature, plainly shows that the Tropical Year to which that nomenclature was originally applied commenced at the winter solstice, and not at, nor near, either of the equinoxes, or the summer solstice...
Thus we find that the true period of the commencement of "the Season of the Inundation" was one month before the autumnal equinox; and the end, at the winter
1 Budge, TGE, 264.
2 Renouf, 99.
3 Lockyer, TDA, 57.
4 Herodotus, 92-93.
solstice; and, consequently, that the Tropical Year anciently in use among the Egyptians commenced at the winter solstice, when all things in Egypt begin anew.1 Obviously, the Egyptians were well aware of the winter solstice, which they evidently identified with Osiris and other gods at some point and which during certain eras or in various places opened with Egyptian year.
Concerning these important times of the year, astronomer Sir Lockyer remarks: Did the ancients know anything about these solstices and these equinoxes? That is one of the questions which we have to discuss. Dealing with the monumental evidence in Egypt alone, the answer is absolutely overwhelming.2
Lockyer next describes a number of astronomical alignments of various monuments and buildings in Egypt , beginning with the temple enclosure at Karnak . Calling the temple of Amen-Ra at Karnak the "finest Egyptian solar temple" and "the most majestic ruin in the world,"3 Lockyer dated its foundation to 3700 BCE, using astronomical measurements.4 Encompassing twice the area covered by St. Peter's in Rome , the complex comprised "two temples in the same line back to back, the chief one facing the sunset at the summer solstice, the other probably the sunrise at the winter solstice."5 Concerning the smaller temple, Lockyer states:
The amplitude of the point to which the axis of the small temple points is 26o S. of E., exactly the position of sunrise at the winter solstice. There is more evidence of this kind....6
Lockyer then discusses the colossal statues of Amenhetep III on the plain of Thebes, which were oriented to watch "for the rising of the sun at the winter solstice."7
Astronomer Dr. Edwin C. Krupp likewise comments on the winter-solstice alignment of Egyptian buildings:
Winter solstice sunrise alignment was also found at the solar sanctuary in Hatshepsut's mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri, and these sanctuaries were linked with the Egyptian beliefs about the passage of Re through the netherworld and the transformation of the soul of the deceased pharaoh.8 The Temple of Amun-Ra at Abu Simbel , built by Ramses II, ranks as another edifice aligned with sunrise at the winter solstice.9
In the Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt ("EAAE") appears a discussion of the small temple at Aghurmi in the Siwa Oasis. This temple possesses a window in the west wall of the sanctuary that connects with an opposite window opposite, producing a lightshaft which illuminates the "god's barge naos in the center of the sanctuary." EAAE then states:
1 Poole, 4-5.
2 Lockyer, Nature, 10.
3 Lockyer, TDA, 99.
4 Lockyer, TDA, 119.
5 Lockyer, TDA, 102.
6 Lockyer, Nature, 57.
7 Lockyer, Nature, 57; TDA, 79.
8 Krupp, xii.
9 Clark, 147, 193.
The fact that Onuris and Tefnut are represented right next to this window and the mythology connected with these two gods suggest that occurrence of this event to have coincided with the winter solstice.1
Hence, we find multiple astronomical alignments proving that the ancient Egyptians highly valued the winter solstice. Moreover, a number of ancient Egyptian water clocks, such as at Karnak , were designed to measure the winter and summer solstices.2 Indeed, that the Egyptians were keen measurers of time may be seen in an inscription from the tomb of the Karnak clock's creator, a "certain official" named Amenemhet who was buried "near the top of the hill of
Sheikh Abd el-Gurna in Western Thebes ." This very ancient inscription describes the measurements of the "longest night of wintertime" and the "shortest night of summertime," the former of which, of course, would be the winter solstice and the latter, the summer. This inscription also refers to Egyptian sacred literature as "the books of the divine word,"3 demonstrating the reverence with which these texts were held, no less than the holy books of today. The official in question dedicated his clock to Amenhotep I, who reigned in the 18th Dynasty, during the 16th century BCE.
In Ancient Egyptian Science, professor of Historical Studies Dr. Marshall Clagett (1916-2005) depicts another ancient Egyptian clock used to measure the equinoxes and solstices:
The first (and indeed only) Egyptian technical description of an ancient Egyptian shadow clock is found in an inscription in the cenotaph of Seti I (ca. 1306-1290
Dr. Clagett also describes an Egyptian sundial from Luxor that apparently dates to the "Greco-Roman period" and that possesses marks to measure, among other things, the winter solstice.5
As another example of Egyptian astronomical knowledge and the particular importance of the winter solstice, in 46 BCE famed Alexandria astronomer Sosigenes created a new solar calendar for Julius Caesar, called the Julian Calendar: "The new system, depending wholly on the sun, would naturally have commenced with the winter solstice,"6 called bruma in Latin, one source of the Roman celebration the Brumalia.7 In The Sacred Tradition in Ancient Egypt, Rosemary Clark describes another festival that purportedly took place on the winter solstice: As the winter solstice denotes the literal decline of solar light, festivals celebrated at this time are connected with the renewal of the life force. One of these festivals was the annual raising of the Djed pillar of Asar [Osiris] at his great temple at Busiris in Lower Egypt. This was a symbolic restoration of the Neter's [God's] life, an event
1 EAAE, 742.
2 So closely have the Egyptian gods been associated with time that it has been repeatedly claimed that the name Horus has been brought forth into English in the word "hours." In his translation of Diodorus, Edwin Murphy—who is not prone to fantasy—remarks, "Horus was also said to have first divided the day into hours, which still reflect his name." (Siculus/Murphy, 32, footnote 51.)
3 Clagett, 69-70.
4 Clagett, 84, 86-87.
5 Clagett, 96-97.
6 Froude, 425.
7 The dates of the Brumalia, a Bacchic or Dionysian festival, have been reckoned as March 12th and September 18th. However, Bell relates that "there are others who say that the Brumalia was a religious festival, celebrated on the day of the winter solstice." This confusion evidently comes from two different terms as the basis for "Brumalia," one referring to the "shortest day" and the other to Bacchus/Dionysus. ( Bell , 141) which followed a ritual reenactment of an episode in the great Osirian mythos, The Contendings of Heru [Horus] and Set. It took place, according to ancient records, on the 30th of Choiach [Khoiak], a time coinciding with the end of the Nile 's inundation over the land. In our calendar the festival begins on December 10 and culminates at the winter solstice (December 22).1
The djed-pillar is a very ancient "cult icon of Osiris" that was "erected in a rite symbolizing Osiris's revivification after death."2 The raising of the djed-pillar at Busiris is mentioned in chapter 18 of the Book of the Dead. The month of Choiach/Khoiak/Koiak corresponding to December comes from the Coptic calendar and is presumably an accurate rendering of an ancient Egyptian dating system. In Calendrical Calculations, Professors Dershowitz and
The Christian Copts, modern descendants of the Pharaonic Egyptians, use a calendar based on the ancient Egyptian solar calendar...but with leap years.3 Dershowitz and Reingold further say that "the Copts celebrate Christmas on Koiak 29 (which is always either December 25 or 26 on the Julian calendar)..."4
Modern Egyptians also still celebrate a festival around the vernal equinox called "Sham el-Nessim," or "Shamo," which traditionally occurs in April and closely resembles the Western celebration of Easter. Since this spring festival is estimated to date to at least 4,500 years ago, it would be reasonable to assert that comparable winter-solstice celebrations may approach that age in Egypt as well.
Knowing all these facts, it is logical and rational to assume that Plutarch and Macrobius were not in error in their reports about the Egyptian sun god celebrated at the winter solstice. If Macrobius is correct in his assertions that the Egyptians brought out an image of the baby sun at the winter solstice, we have no credible, scientific reason to dismiss Plutarch's statement regarding Harpocrates/Horus being this baby sun born at the winter solstice, especially since many of his contentions can be verified by the hieroglyphics, as stated by Budge.
In fact, the "restoration of Osiris" at the winter solstice—which would essentially constitute his rebirth in Horus—is also related by Plutarch:
Moreover, at the time of the winter solstice they lead the cow seven times around the temple of the Sun and this circumambulation is called the Seeking for Osiris, since the Goddess in the winter-time yearns for water; so many times do they go around, because in the seventh month the Sun completes the transition from the winter solstice to the summer solstice. It is said also that Horus, the son of Isis, offered sacrifice to the Sun first of all on the fourth day of the month, as is written in the records entitled the Birthdays of Horus.5
Although here Plutarch discusses Osiris's water aspect, logic would indicate that the god's solar nature was also being sought at the winter solstice, when the sun is viewed as "weakening," "dying" or otherwise diminishing, in line with the shortening days of the years.
Furthermore, the "Seeking of Osiris" at the solstice is confirmed by the conservative Encyclopedia Britannica as one of the Egyptians' "most characteristic celebrations":
1 Clark, 131.
2 Allen, J., TAEPT, 428.
3 Dershowitz, 73.
4 Dershowitz, 77.
5 Plutarch/Babbitt, 127.
Among those most characteristic celebrations of the Egyptians were those which took place at the afa??sµ?? or disappearance of Osiris in October or November, at the search for his remains, and their discovery about the winter solstice...1