Interesting Ending to Lucian's Life of Demonax

I was reviewing Lucian's biography of the Cynic philosopher, Demonax, active in the second century. Lucian's account is the only near-contemporary account of Demonax's life. He is otherwise not mentioned by another writer until the fifth century.

Ancient biographies were not intended to be comprehensive accounts of the subject's life, but rather selective accounts sufficient to demonstrate the subject's character, accomplishments, or teachings. At the end of Lucian's Life of Demonax, he emphasizes his selectivity with the statement, "I have made but a small selection of the material available; but it may serve to give readers some idea of this great man's character." I found this curiously similar to how the Gospel of John concludes, "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." John's statement has more splash, but both are emphasizing the same thing: their respective accounts of their subjects are selective and merely impart enough information to demonstrate the subject's greatness or accomplishments.


Metacrock said…
This guy was supposed to have been in the second century, but only one guy talks about him between second and fifth century. Now that shows us that he may not have existed, if the guy who talks about him agreed with him at all it proves he didn't exist.

Moreover, if the fifth century sources give any details of his life that proves they were invented in that century.

From all of this I have deduced that he was a Hurian corn god who had a tie-in to the mystery cults and was not even understood as a flesh and blood person until almost the fifth century.

Look at that name, Demonax, it's obvious he's the prototype of the concept of demons. What about that similarity to the book of John you mention yourself? Well that just proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that he's another of the dying rising savior gods whom Jesus was copied after.

therefore he must have been a dying rising corn god who gave birth to demons when he was crucified.
Jason Pratt said…
{{Look at that name, Demonax, it's obvious he's the prototype of the concept of demons.}}

Don't forget the ax. Demons prefer to wield axes in art about them, as is shown in numerous depictions of demons after this time. Clearly, this is where that idea came from.


Anonymous said…
I came across "this" recently... Why bother...
'Demonax was a Hurian corn god.' etc... and then DEMON... and then...
(I type a lot of ... because its disgusting!!!)
a) Demonax: etymology: DEMOS and ANAX; which means 'people' and leader, 'archon'. and NOT:
'DEMON with an ax...' ha ha ha. Demon is a simplified form of DAEMON: meaning lesser god in Greek, but evil in Christianity.
Heraclitus (6th BC) said "Should better hide IGNORANCE"

Jason Pratt said…
You missed the joke, AM. Two or three times.

Meta and I were riffing on some of the very shoddy work done by Jesus Myth proponents, past and present, trying to argue that Jesus never existed and that the things claimed for him (even his name) were fadged up from this or that superficially similar or even ridiculously tenuous pagan connection, including by appeal to comparisons long post-dating the composition of the texts (even if the texts were composed in the 2nd century).

The joke was that if most scholars used the same (yes quite "disgusting") source-analytical techniques on someone like Demonax, we would end up with results for him as foolish as the ones that so offended you.

Not all Jesus Myth proponents use parallel arguments quite so extreme, but we've all run across notorious examples of this sort of thing which have managed to influence the credulous. Meta and I were having a bit of fun at their expense: coming up with the most ludicrous results for Demonax we could think of based on similar arguments we've seen leveled on occasion by wholly incautious JMythers.

I am, in other words, well aware that Demonax does not mean "Demon with an ax" any more than Iesous means "Yah-Zeus" or "Eye of Zeus" or something of that sort; nor do I think Demonax was a fictional entity whose name was chosen to fit that concept, any more than I think Iseous was a fictional entity created by Greek pagans whose name was chosen by them to fit that concept. (Nifty though I would otherwise find the sun imagery connection thematically: I don't call God "the Eye" in my fantasy novels, especially analogizing the sun as the visible symbol of the invisible God, for nothing.)


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