Eisenman's "New Testament Code", Chapter 4

Wow, what a chapter!! My commentary is about as long as the chapter itself, but worth the effort.

The Outpouring of Osiris

Chapter 4 begins rather unpromisingly with more discussion about Peter as a "Daily Bather" (like James), and therefore (with James) linked to at least some of the numerous bathing cults of the time, especially ones that shunned Helenistic bathing in favor of more circumspect cold water immersion. The significance of the ubiquity of bathing cults is however seems lost upon Eisenman, because he doesn't perceive the tie between water, bathing/ablution, and baptizing with the god Osiris, nor the prominence of Osiris, not only in the pagan/Hellenistic world but also within Judaism in a more sanitized form.

Eisenman's interminable analysis on bathing and bathers reminds me of an old joke about baptism. It went like this. A Protestant minister confronted a Catholic priest and told him his practice of baptism was all wrong. The Catholic priest replied, "Very well, what if I immerse everything except the top of the head?" "Still not good enough", retorted the Protestant. To this the Catholic said, "Exactly, the point is not to drown when the part that matters is the crown!"

If an ancient king had two sons, the eldest naturally assumed an Osiris role, with the youngest being thought of as a Horus. Peter, as the eldest son of Herod Antipas, was then pigeonholed as the Osiris (Heb. “Eleasar/Hanan/Elijah the Circle Drawer”). It is not surprising then that he would identify with bathing and baptizing. His younger half-brother Andrew was then expected to be more of a Horus (Heb. “Joshua/David/Benjamin”). Andrew (Roman Andronicus) added to his initial typecasting that of James/Jacob-Solomon/Noah, much as these roles had been combined in Herod the Great. Andrew/James may have further appropriated an Osiris aspect (as evidenced by yet another alias, Ananias), and through identification with the earlier High Priest Honi the Circle Drawer.

Eisenman asserts that the first fully righteous character in the Old Testament was Noah. However, this is not quite the case. Before Noah was Patriarch Enoch (archetypal “Joseph”), the actual source of the epithet Zadok, meaning “righteous”. What’s more, immediately after Noah there was another righteous figure, Shem, variously called Shomer in the Bible. These Hebrew names were adapted from those of a prominent prince of the early Old Kingdom in Egypt variously called Semerkhet and Shem-Re.

The title Shemrei, “Keeper (of the Covenant)”, so prevalent in the DSS, is also obviously related to the Shem archetype. Other princes who assumed his identity/role within the royal family were Amenemhet IV (a.k.a. Aaron) of the Middle Kingdom; Prince Amenemhet/Meryre (a.k.a. Merari) of the early 18th Dynasty; Aanen (a.k.a. Aaron II/Manasseh II) of the late 18th Dynasty; and Ramses-Tefnakhte/Setnakhte (a.k.a. Stephanites/Zadok) of the late New Kingdom. During the 18th Dynasty, the epithet of Zadok was applied, perhaps for the first time, to a High Priest of Amun. He was followed in the next dynasty by Ramses-Tefnakhte was renowed for his eloquence and specifically called “Zadok the priest” in the Bible. The Greek equivalent of this name/type was garrulous “Nestor”.

Within a pagan framework, the path of righteousness that extended from Enoch to Noah to Shem was based on the mythological figures of Ea/Enki, his protégé Adapa, and his protégé Etana the Shepherd. Andrew/James/Stephen most definitely also assumed the part of Shem/Aaron/Merari/Zadok” (Egyptian Aanen/Mery-Re), the gifted orator and spokesman of Jesus in his “Moses”/Akhenaten aspect. Consistent with this Eisenman thinks that the early disciple Manaen named in the Book of Acts as a founder of the Church in Antioch must be still another alias of James. (Manaen strikes me as a cross between Aanen and Manasseh, the alias of Aanen used in the Book of Genesis.)

Eisenman also sees a clear Noah typecasting for James, which he feels must connect to the Daily Bather group of called Sabaeans/Sabiai and their leader as-Sabi ibn Yusufus (Sabi son of Joseph). Eisenman notes the name Sabi is of a different root than Seba (Cush/Yemen/Arabia), but nonetheless concludes that the two were associated in ancient times. I would further note that the Hebrew word Saba (5433 in Strong’s Concordance) not only means “Sabean”, but also “tipsy, winebibber” (ala Noah). In contrast, James took an oath of abstinence, along the lines of the Rechabites, descendants or successors of sorts of Jonadab/Elisha son of Rechab/Rehoboam. Moreover, James was in fact the son of Herod Antipas (“Joseph of Arimathea”). In myth Noah/Adapa is considered a son of Enoch/Enki. James also seems to have eventually become a “Joseph” himself, as evidenced by the name Joseph Barsabas Justus, which Eisenman concludes is the name applied to James in the Book of Acts as the loser in an Apostolic popularity contest to Matthias.

One Herodian Family, Many Messiahs

There were many gods of the pagan pantheon corresponding Jacob and the twelve tribal princes of Israel. The major roles derived from Jacob (Irad/Re) and the more senior “sons”, namely Reuben (Nimrod/Geb), Simeon (Lamech/Thoth), Levi (Seth/Set), Judah (Mehushael/Horus the Elder), Issachar (Mehujael/Osiris), Zebulun (Naamah/Isis), Joseph (Enoch/Ptah), Benjamin (Ham/Horus the Younger), Gad (Cain/Anu), Asher (El/Enlil), Naphtali (Adah/Hathor), and Dan (Adam/Atum). Other roles were derived from early Biblical/mythological figures such as Noah (archetype of wise Solomon) and Shem (archetype of priestly Aaron). Messianic tradition developed around most of these names, because royal succession had passed through one or more princes designated in the various roles. (Hence, the Dead Sea Scroll references to the Messiah of Joseph, Judah, Aaron, etc.) The various Herodian princes also competed for the choicest of the traditional royal roles and in many cases shared roles as “twins” or back-ups. The name of the game was for a prince to accumulate as many of the divine roles as possible, and ultimately for it to be said that the “fullness of the Godhead dwelled bodily in him”, as it was for Jesus.

Herodian kings were restricted by Rome in raising and maintaining a traditional army. However, if they stood any chance of regaining their independence, it was absolutely critical that they cultivate groups that were willing and able to fight and die in support of their prerogatives. Rather than directing such groups overtly as political or military leaders, Herodians were forced to rely mostly on the influence of religious/spiritual leaders. Herodian princes therefore also competed with one another to find the best mix of doctrine. For example, was it best to promote the faith of Osiris (with emphasis on waiting and dying) or the works of Horus (with emphasis on doing and surviving)? Existing sects were commandeered by Herodians, new sects were created as needed. Publicly, these groups vied with rival groups to be the most devoted to good deeds, purity/orthodoxy, and expectation of “God’s unfolding plan (as model citizens). Privately, they stood ready as underground militias.

Eisenman finds it fantastical that James would actually have been remembered as a High Priest who entered the Holy of Holies of the Temple like Aaron. However, it is only to be expected that Herod Antipas would seek to establish his leading sons as High Priests, even as Herod the Great had done and the Maccabean rulers before him. Once Antipas was deposed, the right to James and Peter to such positions would have of course been far less tenable, especially when actual descendants of Honi/Ananias the Circle Drawer were still politically viable and gaining appointments to the High Priesthood, such as the four sons of Ananus son of Sethi.

Raising Lazarus

The fall of Herod Antipas is a critical turning point in the Herodian saga. Just prior to this, Antipas had orchestrated the arrest and beheading of John the Baptist, as well as the "crucifixion and resurrection” of Jesus. Eisenman explores yet another sensational event that occurred late in the tenure of Antipas and the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, that being a Messianic movement in Samaria. According to Eisenman, it was Pilate's handling of that event more so than the other two that led to his recall to Rome. Pilate had brutally suppressed that movement, but its leader, who apparently claimed to be the expected Samaritan Christ, a.k.a., "The Taheb", had miraculously escaped a brutal death. Most of his followers were not so fortunate, having been rounded up by Pilate and killed at a place called Tirathaba.

Eisenman concludes that the would-be Samaritan Messiah in question must have been John the Baptist. However, another Gospel figure leaps out as the better choice, that being the "Samaritan" Simon Magus, who (as Lazarus) was rescued by the intervention of Jesus shortly before he faced and survived an ordeal of his own. Some time later Simon Magus had to be raised up once more, this time by Peter. Simon Magus was on this occasion referred to by the code name Tabitha, implicitly linking him to the earlier Taheb/Tirathaba episode (as well as to the name Tiridates/Tigranes). The narrative also carefully notes that the Hebrew name Tabitha is Dorcus in Greek, meaning "doe, gazelle".

The tribe associated with the name Tabitha/Dorcus is Naphtali, a male prince with a feminine name, and who is also likened to a female deer. What's more, within the Herodian royal house, Naphtali corresponds to Saul/Paul!

See Chart:

Eisenman mentions that Paul and Simon Magus are confused with one another in the Pseudoclementine works. Other researchers, such as Hyam Maccoby (The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity), have already decided the two one and the same, and as Eisenman seems also to have concluded, at least in his previous book “James Brother of Jesus”.

Great King beyond the Euphrates

The stunning implication of these word plays involving Taheb/Tabitha/Tirithaba caused me to go scrambling for my copy of Josephus to see if a Paul-Simon harmony was even remotely possible based on the information in Wars and Antiquities. Here’s what I learned:

Josephus recorded that Alexander son of Herod the Great had two sons (Tigranes and Alexander) by Glaphyra, and a daughter as well. Antiquites (Chapt. V) reads, "Tigranes, who was king of Armenia, was accused at Rome, and died childless; Alexander had a son of the same name with his brother Tigranes and was sent to take possession of the kingdom of Armenia by Nero; he had a son, Alexander, who married Jotape, the daughter of Antiochus, the king of Commagena; Vespasian made him king of an island in Cilicia. But these of descendants of Alexander, soon after their birth deserted the Jewish religion, and went over to that of the Greeks". (Whiston translation)

The key phrase is, "Alexander had a son of the same name with his brother Tigranes". The correct interpretation of this now appears to be: "Alexander [son of Herod the Great] had a son [also called Alexander] of the same name with his brother Tigranes". In other words, both sons of Alexander son of Herod the Great became kings of Armenia under the traditional Armenian king-name of Tigranes. We are not told when the first Tigranes was accused in Rome, only that the second, Alexander, was appointed during the reign of Nero. In fact, both brothers could have been ruling in Armenia at the same time.

The Roman identity of the first brother Tigranes emerges as Cornelius. As Eisenman notes, Cornelius is introduced in the Book of Acts as a good and popular man immediately after Tabitha is "raised from the dead" by Peter. If Simon Magus/Cornelius was one and the same as Paul it would explain a number of Pauline/Paulina mysteries. For example, Paul's effeminacy, his lack of an heir, the implicit Gnostic themes in his writings, his chronic disease (the "bitter gall" of Simon Magus), his reputation as a liar and populist (“seeker of smooth things”, “all things to all people”), his purported occupation as a tentmaker (Simon said to be a tanner), as well as his deeply conflicted psyche/split personality and self-loathing.

Eisenman notes that Simon Magus had a side-kick or alter ego named Dositheus. This name has definite Sethian/Gnostic overtones, as well as connoting “Twin/Double of God”. The variants Dortus, Doetus, and Dorcus probably amount to a play on yet another Roman or regional Hellenistic identity of Paul Simon in addition to Cornelius and Sergius Paulus, such as Dorus, Dorian, or the like. Alternatively, it could be a play on a geographical location (Edessa, Cyprus, Tarshish, or the like). Along these lines, the use of the place name Samaria not only signifies northern Israel (Ephraim/Naphtali), but also the ancient land of Sumer where Paul Simon’s real power lies. Recall also that 2 Kings 15:29 states that Tiglath-pileser took all the territory of Naphtali and carried off the population to Assyria.

The peculiarity of cult members praying to the north and even orienting their graves to the north suggests that Herodians (or certain ones at least) were contemplating a move of the primary royal court from Jerusalem to Assyria, and as a repetition of earlier royal history when the Jerusalem of Egypt (Thebes) was destroyed and the center of royal power moved north to Assyria (and then east to Persia). Probably Herodians decided on this general strategy as the best (or only) way to stop the inexorable Roman expansion eastward.

Great Queen beyond the Euphrates

It was previously deduced that the Apostle Paul was the son of Antipater by Pallas, an obscure wife of Herod the Great. Jesus (Aristobulus III) was also the son of Antipater, but by Mary (Mariamne IV). However, Tigranes I and Alexander (Tigranes II) are said to be the sons of Glaphyra wife of Alexander son of Herod the Great. These relationships appear to be contradictory, so we need to take a closer look, especially at Glaphyra since Josephus provides anecdotal material about her and nothing of interest for the others.

Glaphyra, we are told by Josephus, was the daughter of Archelaus king of Cappadocia (bordering on Armenia). She considered herself superior to the other princesses in Herod’s court by virtue of a pedigree that included Temenos (founder of the Macedonian House of Alexander the Great) and of Darius (Great King of Persia). However, Josephus is dissimulating on this point - not by the statement itself, but in suggesting other Herodians had some lesser inheritance. All Herodians could in fact claim the same ancestors and were of the same royal stock, even those who presently ruled over traditionally Arab regions and were considered Arab kings. Yet, Josephus wants the reader to think that Glaphyra was in some way special. (The connection to Cappadocia and Pontus does offer some additional clues as to how the family of Herod was patched together from the remnants of both Ptolemaic and Seleucid courts.)

Josephus also wants the reader to believe that Glaphyra and her husband Alexander were genuinely in love. Alexander was told that his father Herod the Great coveted Glaphyra for his own wife, and became enraged. When Alexander was later placed in bonds by his father, Josephus tells us that Glaphyra responded with a childlike emotional outburst. In reality, she, like many other princesses, was likely betrothed at a very young age, almost from birth. Josephus concocts a similar tale concerning Glaphyra at the end of her life. She had a dream in which her first love Alexander appears. He expressed his jealousy over the marriages of Glaphyra that took place after his death and had come to restore her to himself in death.

This is all quite romantic, but eerily so. Josephus was going overboard to establish the worthiness of Tigranes and Alexander (Tigranes II) as heirs of the Hasmonean line. The first Tigranes has already been associated with Simon Magus. The second Tigranes, although called Alexander as the heir of Alexander, logically corresponds to Aristobulus III the step-son of Herod of Chalcis, who was appointed by Nero as king of Armenia in the late 50’s AD. Josephus, while exercising some discretion and subtlety, was nevertheless manipulating the facts to put these sons of Glaphyra on greater footing than those of Berenice by the Hasmonean prince Aristobulus son of Herod the Great, most notably her son Agrippa I (the father of Agrippa II). He does so by suggesting that Glaphyra was of greater royal status, if not prettier, than Berenice. Secondly, he over-emphasizes her attachment to Alexander and vice versa. Josephus takes the additional step of mentioning that Herod the Great desired Glaphyra, which further separates her from Berenice, even if scandalously.

Despite the spin-doctoring of Josephus, it is now clear that Glaphyra was either not old enough to consummate a marriage with Alexander son of Herod the Great or not successful in having children by him. Instead, Tigranes and Alexander were sired posthumously by a surviving brother, namely Antipater son of Herod, more-or-less in accordance with the Law. After the death of Alexander, Josephus tells us that Glaphyra became the wife of Juba II of Numibia, but this is only indirection on his part - for Juba II was nothing more than King Herod himself. Consequently, it can be deduced that Glaphyra, as a wife of Herod, was not referred to by Josephus as Glaphyra but as Pallas (an epithet of Athene). Nevertheless, toward the end of his reign Herod was likely incapable of producing children (due to diseased genitals), so it fell to his eldest son and designated successor Antipater to give Glaphyra the required children.

After the death of Antipater and Herod the Great, Glaphyra became the wife of the successor Archelaus. Josephus now tells us that Archelaus divorced his first wife Mariamne IV in order to marry Glaphyra. He again dissimulates, because Mariamne (Mary) was the mother of Aristobulus III and therefore just another epithet/title of Glaphyra as a kind of Herodian “God’s Wife”. By Archelaus (“Zebedee”), Mariamne/Glaphyra had two additional sons (James and John the sons of Mary/Salome). Glaphyra also had another son James by Herod Antipas, probably after Archelaus was deposed and Antipas became the leading Herodian king. After Antipas was in turn deposed, Glaphyra/Pallas/Mariamne “married” once again, this time to her own son Tigranes/Agbarus. For the sake of appearances, she took on a new identity, Helen, and was passed off as his “sister”. Somehow this was made acceptable, not only in Edessa, but also in Samaria and Jerusalem! The infamous Gospel story, “The Woman at the Well”, indicates that this arrangement was condoned by another of her leading sons, Jesus/Aristobulus III.

The Sons of Glaphyra

This solution simplifies the tangle of New Testament disciples/apostles considerably. The following lists the major figure roughly by age. Gospel names are given first followed by Greco-Roman identities.

Simon the Zealot – Simon Magus – Lazarus – Tabitha/Dorcus – Saul/Paul – Atomus

Tigranes I - Tiridates - Agbarus/Abgarus - Taheb – Dositheus/Doetus/Dortus/Dorcus
Saulus - Cornelius – Sergius Paulus - Dorus?


Alexander son of Alexander - Aristobulus III

Judas (of) James* - James the son of Zebedee - Judas Thomas/Didymus – Theudas – Lebbaeus - James the Lesser – James son of Alphaeus?

John son of Zebedee – John the Evangelist

Simon Peter
Gemellus – Tertulian

James (Justus) “brother of Jesus”
Andrew –Stephen – Manaen – Barsabas - Joseph Barsabas Justus

* Note that I am accepting the association made by Eisenman between James son of Zebedee and Judas Thomas in Chapter 4 of “The New Testament Code”.

Forsaking The Way

Josephus mentioned that Alexander/Aristobulus III married Jotape daughter of Antiochus king of Commagena. By association, Jotape was Salome daughter of Herodias, and Antiochus was Philip I. Josephus also places the death of Antiochus about the time of Philip’s death. This was followed almost immediately by the death of his adopted son and heir Phillip II/Artabanus (“John the Baptist”). His eventual successor Vologases is said to have confirmed Simon/Tigranes as king of Armenia. Tigranes’ “elder brother” (implicitly the more favored Jesus/Alexander/Aristobulus III) also received at this time the rule of Medea under the regional name of Parcorus/Pacorus! (Antiquites III.4)

[As the elder brother Simon/Tigranes assumed the Osiris/Eleasar (Lazarus) role.
As the younger brother Alexander/Tigranes II assumed the Horus/Joshua (Jesus) role, and with only a secondary Osiris typecasting. The name Alexander also recalls one of the greatest Joshua figures of all time, Alexander the Great.]

After the death of Aristobulus III, his son Aristobulus IV (“Jesus Justus”) succeeded to the kingdom of Chalcis in Syria. Around the time of the Jewish Revolt and siege of Jerusalem, this Aristobulus assisted Vespatian in reducing the region of Commagene (ruled by a new Antiochus) along the Euphrates as a precautionary measure against a possible Parthian invasion. At the same time a group identified as the “Alans” invaded Media and drove out its king, the apparent successor of Aristobulus III and also called Parcorus/Pacorus. He also threatened the king of Armenia, who is still being called Tigranes. In Grail lore, Alain/Galains was the son of Jesus Justus! This information provided by Josephus then serves to explain how the descendants of Alexander/Aristobulus III (Jesus Christ) abandoned the Hebrew religion for Greco-Roman ways and standing. It is done in such a way however as to protect those same descendants from either Roman or Jewish reproach.

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a More Holy Life!