Christianity originally an egyptian sect?


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I read somewhere that the semitic religions (is semitic the right word? - i mean Judaism/Christianity/Islam) are based on an ancient egyptian sect...
The idea (as far as i can remember) goes that there was a sect in egypt who worshipped a specific god (name forgotten) from the egyptian pantheon.
Apparently they came up with the idea that their god was 'the one true God' - possibly because of persecution by the Egyptian high priests..
A century or so later, a guy called Moses came along and found this sect, was impressed by their ideas and thus founded Judaism...

I really cant remember my sources for this, and as such can't be sure in any way of their reliability. I was just wondering if anybody else had heard this story, and whether it can be verified/discounted in any way.
Just found the site where i read it. A discordian website, so cant be sure of the reliability... they say:

The Cult of Aten has many followers, including Muslims, Christians, and Jews, most of whom do so unknowningly. The Cult of Aten can be traced back to the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, who tried to create a new religion based on the worship of himself as the avatar and son of the one true god. The Egyptians were smart enough to see past this arrogance, and it was nearly forgotten. However, one day a man named Moses happened across a small group that still worshipped Akhenaten. And from that point on, people have been dying in his name without even knowing it.

the website is thus:

any ideas?
Heh, Akhenaten is one of my favourite ancient topics - but, alas, there is little definite to read on the actual comparative theology of the event. I've seen Akhenaten made contemporary to Moses or Solomon - and this is a key issue on the matter. After all, if Moses was the contemporary, then there's a possible comparative argument of the effect of the Aten on Judaism. However, if Solomon is the contemporary, then there remains a no less intriguing, but far less powerful connection. Of course, there could have been neither as contemproary to Akhenaten. There are hints, but, alas, without further discoveries the entire matter has to remain in the arena of speculation.

Anyway, more info here:


(And I'll take the liberty of moving this to the ancient section, if that's okay - let's see if we can use this thread as a wider springboard for discussion of Akhenaten and El Amarna.) :)
Just a thought: Even if Moses was a contemporary Ahkenaten, is it possible that merely the monotheistic philosophy appealed to him and influenced his own ideas? And what, exactly, about that would mean that Jews/Christians/Muslims worship Aten? I mean, at least with Christiany, there all sorts of "external influences" that have shaped the belief over time.

It doesn't much different from several (or many) other religions in that respect. Whoever wrote that article seems woefully single-minded.
Just my musings on the subject, nothing concrete, just my strange mind at work.
If Judaism came loosely from Egyptian religion it is thought that the Egyptian religion is based upon earlier writings from Mesopotamia....and what came before that? Probably all religions IMO all came from the same source, they have just been rewritten to reflect the culture of the people the religion served.

It was said (somewhere) that giants walked the earth when the world began. Were the giants neanderthal man, or the gods and angels? What made one sector of society choose one name or one god over another? Was it one god or was it merely another name? As man grew in numbers did the gods or guides that helped man grow to accommodate the ever increasing numbers so as to hear man's pleas for help in his daily life? Did man create entities by naming them and worshipping them? Many unanswerable questions I know.
My musings, forgive me!:eek:
Unless I've totally underestimated humanity, I can't believe monotheism wasn't considered before Akhenaten. Also, there's a substantial argument against early Judaism being monotheist. My guess would be monotheism grew to the point where provincial Gods were whittled down to a singularity, thus leading to Yahweh, then Jesus, then Allah, etc. But Judaism was born in Egypt and apparently so was Akhenaten's monotheism.
My understanding is that the boundaries of Monotheism and Polytheism are extremely artifical - that ancient peoples with a "Polytheistic" outlook usually had a major god who had authority over a small core group of gods, who in themselves had authority over a wider and more diverse set of gods. Even Roman Catholicism, usually accepted as Monotheistic, can be argued to be remarkably similar to Polytheism in its outlook, with a clear hierarchy of Deity via God, Mary, Jesus, the Angels, Saints, Thrones, Powers, Principalities, etc.
Monotheism Forum?

I said:
My understanding is that the boundaries of Monotheism and Polytheism are extremely artifical

I agree, so let's please rename the Monotheistic Forum into something more appropriate? :D
Re: Monotheism Forum?

Heh, might confuse people even more. :)
For the record, I meant 'overestimated'. Damn time limit on editing.
Re: Monotheism.

Monotheism, in my perspective, doesn't necessarily denote the existence of one sole God but, rather, the unification of all deities under that concept.

(As in...say, hypothetically: Sirius begets Sol...Sol begets Jupiter, Jupiter and Sol beget Earth and so on...all being different aspects of the divine source.)

To most educated Hebrews, those celestial bodies are artistically embodied in the concept of angels, which some of you may or may not already be aware of.
In science, they all theoretically eminate from one source.

Just had to throw my two cents in there. :D
Re: Monotheism.

Unless I've totally underestimated humanity, I can't believe monotheism wasn't considered before Akhenaten.
ahem...abraham, anyone?

Also, there's a substantial argument against early Judaism being monotheist.
no. there's a substantial argument that the biblical israelites were only reluctantly monotheist - it's made by the prophets of the NaKh part of TaNaKh. judaism itself, as taught by abraham, isaac, jacob and moses, has always been by definition monotheist. deviation from this PoV as expressed by the Torah is heresy at least, idolatry at worst. either way it crosses the lines of what can be considered judaism. what is so hard to understand about that?

My guess would be monotheism grew to the point where provincial Gods were whittled down to a singularity
there's plenty of midrash about how abraham worked this out for himself and smashed up his father's idol shop. not so much whittling as iconoclasm.

and as for this "hidden moses" page - i see part of his evidence is "note the semitic nose"! so, basically it must be moses because he had a big hooked nose like all jews. what a pile of racist crap.


Well, that's all true if you accept Jewish/Christian/Islamic canon, which would require the assumption Abraham was a real man, that he literally heard the voice of a provincial deity who existed among a multitude of identical but classicaly mute Gods, and a lot of other unpleasant stuff. Faith requires that. But critical observation and anthropology doesn't concur.

But like I said before, if Akhenaten was the first monotheist and by extension the origin of monotheism, I'd be greatly surprised. That said, the lack of evidence of others is startling. Not that there isn't a ton of explanations for this.
Actually, I'm wondering how close Zoroastrianism is to all of this - my notes say Zoroastra was kicking about around 1200 BC, which isn't far of Akhenaten - though I've heard some interesting ideas about the Egytian dating being off-center.
Yeah, I'm no scholar, but I barely even note dating. I think of it as a very loose estimate. At least for everything pre-common era. Seems like that was the point where the world got small enough to cross check sources.
I'm not very up on the actual technicalities of dating, but I remember in David Rohl's "Test of Time", he made a convincing argument that at least some of the Egyptian dating was awry. How much of it I can't make claim for, but reading an archaeology magazine this morning about Amarna puts the date for Akhenaten at around 1350BC -> my notes say 1200 for Zoroastra.
Well, like I said before. If montheism sprung from a single source I'd be greatly surprised.
Well, like I said before. If monotheism sprung from a single source I'd be greatly surprised.
oh, yes, that's fair enough. we never said nobody else hasn't figured it out without our help.

and, incidentally, a lot of archaeologists are very, very rude about david rohl's dating, as much as it suits us.


I figured David Rohl wouldn't be able to get away with it. :)

And some of his writing does seem perhaps more speculative than he would perhaps like to admit - I have no gift for languages, but I do find the way that he tries to connect words somehow more like trying to "join the dots" than anything to do with actual linguistics.

Still, he makes a pretty convinving case in some of the dating - though I am curious why does his dating particularly suit you?