Sunday, November 11, 2007

Acharya S. -Biography

Acharya S. (D.M. Murdock)
Acharya S. is the pen name of D. M. Murdock. A proponent of the Christ-myth hypothesis, she has authored two books and operates a website named "Truth be Known". Her contention is that all religion is founded in earlier myth and that the characters depicted in Christianity are the result of the plagiarizing of those myths to unify the Roman State.

Books
In 1999, Acharya published The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold. The book is based on development and expansion of an essay from her website, The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ. Christ Conspiracy argues the concept of Jesus Christ as myth, and states that the Christ story is a fabrication based on earlier pagan mythology.
A follow-up book, Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled, was published in 2004. In Suns of God, she comments on the Hindu story of the life of Krishna, as well as the life of Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama). She claims parallels to the Christian stories of the life of Jesus, presenting this as evidence that the story of Jesus was written based on existing stories, and not the life of a real man. Suns of God also seeks to address some of the criticisms leveled at Christ Conspiracy.

Claims about Christianity
Acharya denies the historical existence of Jesus Christ, describing the New Testament as a work of mythic fiction with an historical setting. The story of Christ, she maintains, is actually a retelling of various pagan myths, all of which represent "astro-theology" or the story of the Sun. She asserts that the pagans understood these stories to be myths but that Christians obliterated evidence to the contrary through the destruction and control of literature once they attained control of the Roman Empire.
This purportedly led to widespread illiteracy in the ancient world and ensured that the mythical nature of Christ's story was hidden. Scholars of other sects continued to oppose the historicizing of a mythological figure. Where no evidence exists, Acharya claims that this is because the arguments were destroyed by Christians. However, Christians preserved these contentions, she states, through their own refutations.
Acharya compares Jesus' history to that of other "saviour gods" such as Mithra, Horus, Adonis, Krishna, Quetzalcoatl, and - claiming that the similarities result from a common source: the myth of the sun-god or solar deity.
In "The Christ Conspiracy" she describes this theory, noting for instance the allegorical parallels between the story of Christ, and the story of the solar deity: "The sun 'dies' for three days at the winter solstice, to be born again or resurrected on December 25th", and "The sun enters into each sign of the zodiac at 30[degrees]; hence, the 'Sun of God' begins his ministry at 'age' 30."

Claims about other religions
Acharya S is highly critical of certain aspects of Judaism, in particular Hasidism. She writes online about the possible creation of a theocratic New World Order which would impose the Noahide Law:
If the Hassidic Jewish Movement has its way, the so-called Noahide Laws would be followed to the letter, as would many others found in the "Old Testament," prescribing capital punishment for abortion, euthanasia and "sexual deviation" such as adultery and homosexuality. The punishment, in fact, for breaking any of the Noahide Laws is decapitation [1].
In another online essay, she quotes allegations by conspiracy researcher Mae Brussell that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints smuggled uranium to Australia "for future use when it would attempt to obtain world conquest and single world government.... The rumor was... that the Mormon Church had arranged to assist Israel in bringing off Armageddon ." [2]. Her criticisms have also been directed against Islam and Buddhism.

Critiques: Pro and Con
Earl Doherty, historian and author and also a proponent of the view that the Gospel accounts are borrowed from pagan sources, wrote:
"Acharya S has done a superb job in bringing together this rich panoply of ancient world mythology and culture, and presenting it in a comprehensive and compelling fashion."[3]
Barbara Walker, American feminist author, wrote:
"[The Christ Conspiracy] is a well-crafted, thought-provoking work that belongs in the library of every thinking individual. It should be read by every person concerned about the moral, ethical, and spiritual aspects of our culture; it should be read particularly by those who profess belief in any of the numerous varieties of Christianity."
Alex Burns, an editor at "disinformation" wrote:
"The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold (Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999) is an explosive book which dares to scholarly analyze the Gospels' depiction of Jesus Christ with pre-existing religious rituals and mystery schools. Comparing Christ to Mithras, Heracles/Hercules, Dionysus, Krishna and Horus (The Younger), Acharya reveals the mythopoeic Cultural Scripts at the heart of the world's major monotheistic religions. [...] What sets Acharya's research apart is her attention to detail and footnoting. The resulting book that has attracted praise from Adam Parfrey, Kenn Thomas and Robert Sterling amongst others."
Robert Price, a professor of Theology and another proponent of the Christ-myth hypothesis, was at one time critical of Acharya's writing:
"Writing at second hand, she is too quick to state as bald-faced fact what turn out to be, once one chases down her sources, either wild speculations or complex inferences from a chain of complicated data open to many interpretations."
Acharya subsequently wrote a rebuttal to Price's review. Price has since retracted his attack on Acharya. On Sept. 1, 2006, Price and Acharya guested together on the Infidel Guy radio show and the two have plans for future works together.
A number of Christian apologists have criticised Acharya's work. James Patrick Holding has presented a list of criticisms of Christ Conspiracy, replacing an earlier essay titled S is for Stench, which was rebutted by Acharya, and was later rebutted by J. P Holding.
Apologist Mike Licona of the North American Mission Board has also presented a critique which was subsequently rebutted by Acharya, to which Licona wrote another response.

Acharya's Views on Spirituality
Someone asked Acharya on her discussion group about her views on spirituality: "Acharya, have you ever considered writing about YOUR spirituality? Laying it all on the line ... revealing your very soul? So you think that christianity is where it's NOT; well, where IS the action? What/who is god? Energy, force, power, intelligence, ... ?"
Acharya responded as follows:
Thanks for the interest and query. I do believe my soul is revealed in bits and pieces at least throughout my writing. Possibly at this moment, the most concise writing in this regard is "The Gospel According to Acharya S," which can be found at: [8]
Briefly, I do not believe there is a single, male God in charge of the cosmos, but I do CHOOSE to experience an awe of creation whenever I can. For example, I walk through the woods, and the flora and fauna rejuvenates me. I climb a mountain, and the sight takes my breath away.
Do I believe in an afterlife? I stay away from the term "believe," as it can be rather irrelevant. If I believed there was a Cosmic Porcupine, would my mere belief make it so? I HOPE there are afterlives of a wide variety, because the Christian heaven would be my hell, etc. I hope my mother and father are still alive somewhere "out there." Ditto with all lost loved ones.
Do I have any concrete proof of such wishes? Of course not. Do I feel like there is something indestructible about us? Yes, I do, but its definition is capricious. It could merely be the molecules of our bodies. It could also be our experiences passed onto others. And, it could be something more "soulful."

Life (Biography)
Acharya S is classically educated in archaeology, history, mythology and languages. Her formal training includes a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Classics, Greek Civilization, from Franklin and Marshall College. She also attended the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in Greece.
She is a fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, a division of the Council for Secular Humanism.
While preserving her privacy, she has been interviewed on a variety of radio stations. In an interview she said she came from a moderate Christian background. Though not traumatic or "Fundamentalist", she described it as "boring" and said she ceased attending church regularly at age 12.
Her inspiration for exploring the Jesus myth theory was reportedly Joseph Wheless's book Forgery in Christianity. She then read other works, such as Kersey Graves. The World's 16 Crucified Saviours and Barbara Walker's The Woman's Encyclopaedia of Myth and Secrets.
.....
Since I had been raised a Christian, and had rejected Christianity as being no more true or important than the rest of the world's religions and mythologies, I can't say that the faith ever had any profound meaning to me. I remember being utterly repulsed by Christianity in college and post-graduate school, when I spent a great deal of time in Greek Orthodox Churches, where just about every neurosis and psychosis is manifested. By "psychosis" I refer to the monasteries, where everyone is seriously repressed and there are images of horrible tortures painted on the walls. What kind of "spiritual" environment is that?
.....
I had studied so many religions and mythologies even by then, because of my interest in history and antiquity, that I considered Christianity just one of the many. In truth, even as a child I didn't believe most of the Jesus stories, as they were no more convincing than the tales of the Greek or Roman gods, which were universally pronounced as myths
.....
Religion and politics have been the main tools used to control the masses for the benefit of the elite. What we saw during the 18th and 19th centuries were members of the elite themselves coming forward and forcefully speaking the truth. I will say that, because of the Internet, many people are becoming more politically savvy - possibly more than before. And, perhaps, we will see an increase in people thinking for themselves about the important matters of religion and philosophy. They simply must, or the mass, herd mentality will destroy this planet.
....
As concerns influences on my writing, Barbara Walker and Gerald Massey are two scholars whose work I sincerely esteem. Because I used their work so abundantly in The Christ Conspiracy, I turned to numerous other sources for Suns of God, nevertheless showing the same salient motifs in mythologies from around the world. So, you see, it matters not what the source is: The truth is out there.
.....
we still have such appalling poverty and violence on this planet...
.....
religion has been the single largest factor in causing entire cultures to commit atrocious crimes, such as wholesale theft, torture, genocide, etc., ad nauseam. So long as humankind divides itself into "isms" there will never be peace on Earth and people will never progress to becoming true human beings.
.....
Acharya S is an archaeologist, classicist, historian, mythologist, linguist and member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. She has served as a trench master on archaeological excavations in Corinth, Greece, and in Connecticut, USA. Acharya has traveled extensively around Europe, and she speaks, reads and/or writes Greek, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Portuguese to varying degrees. She has also cross-referenced the Bible in the original Hebrew and ancient Greek. Acharya is the author of the best-selling and controversial The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold and the follow-up tour de force Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled. Articles by and about Acharya S have been published in several magazines and books, and Acharya has appeared on dozens of radio programs over the past decade. Her website is http://www.truthbeknown.com.

6 comments:

BoyintheMachine said...

I'm looking forward to reading Acharya's work.

Acharya S., a.k.a. 'DM Murdock', first came to my attention via her role as consultant for the documentary, 'Zeitgeist Part 1'.

Based on the sources for Zeitgeist Part 1, I was able to debunk the material due to sloppy research.

Interestingly, Acharya's work was sourced some 28 times, the second heavily sourced material for the documentary. -This is why I am now interested in checking to see if Acharya's sources are sound. (I've been told she draws upon the same authors as sourced in Zeitgeist, but will check it out for myself.)

Acharya S. has also been publicly criticized by the great-grandson of an author she sourced, one James Churchward. Churchward's great-grandson, Jack E. Churchward accuses Acharya of deliberately misquoting his great-grandfather to make it suggest as if he supported her view.

According to Jack E. Churchward, his great-grandfather believed in a historical Jesus and that his work stated this belief.

Again, I haven't read Acharya yet, so am waiting to do so before pronouncing an official critique.

yeghia said...

She's a fraud, In an age of scientific investigation and thought, pseudo- intellectuals such as her should be shunned. All it takes is a little research on her sources and her critics to get the full story.

I did a full analysis on her sources one day and the other sources used in Z part 1 of all of them only two were of note from Z part 1, Sir James George Frazer, and Franz Cumont, Phd. most of the rest had no Academic merit.

http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/sources.htm

Vincent Harrison said...

Er, no, Acharya S/ D.M. Murdock is NOT a fraud and it's a lie to claim that only two of her sources held any academic merit. It's the jealous "pseudo- intellectuals" making these false claims about her work who embarrass the entire mythicist field and should be "shunned."

Dr. Robert Price wrote the foreword to her book Who Was Jesus Fingerprints of The Christ (2007) Which contains an almost all Christian bibliography including many Christian biblical and New Testament scholars admitting there's no VALID evidence for Jesus.

And since her first 3 books came out before Zeitgeist (which is why they're sourced at ZG) it's not accurate to claim she uses ZG sources. Rather they use hers.

Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus connection came out in Feb. 2009 and has thoroughly substantiated all of the claims concerning Egypt and much more. It's almost 600 pages with over 2,400 footnote/citations to primary sources and expert commentary on them from over 900 bibliographical references including many modern scholars. It's quite extensive and the very best book on the subject I've ever seen.

so, Acharya now has 4 books totaling nearly 2,000 pages with over 5,550 footnotes/citations and over 1,440 bibliographical references including ancient through to modern scholars. She also has more works already on the way including a newly revised "The Gospel According to Acharya S" and Jesus as the Sun Throughout History

Oh, she also does a thorough job addressing a skeptics diatribe against Zeitgeist part 1. Skeptic Mangles ZEITGEIST
(and Religious History)


Here are some videos based on her work

And here's a great excerpt Astrotheology of the Ancients

So stop maliciously smearing Acharya S. Those of us who've actually read it know better.

Vincent Harrison said...

"Acharya S. has also been publicly criticized by the great-grandson of an author she sourced, one James Churchward"

Jack Churchward is a PRICK - he deletes all the comments that proves him wrong. Jack clearly has an agenda. The quotes he complains about are easily found on the net. Of the 13 citations (out of nearly 1,200 in one book 1,800 in the other) only one of those quotes has to do with Christianity. He makes a mountain of a mole hill. Jack, Buddhist or not, sounds like an angry xian.

Acharya did not misquote him. Christ Conspiracy simply isn't about Jack's grandfather or his beliefs. Acharya never once claimed that James agreed with her theory. Jack just doesn't like the subject matter of Acharya's work nor the evidence, facts and history she has compiled. Jack's grandfather was considered a "crackpot" by many for his views on Atlantis and Mu, etc and Acharya attempted to give him some credibility and all Jack has to offer is an insulting video/blog smearing her.

Acharya never did or said anything to Jack but Jack has been harassing Acharya since Nov. of 07 by posting his blogs and videos everywhere he can to gather attention to himself to promote his grandfathers works to sell more books I guess. At the same time attempting to inspire hatred towards Acharya S. Jack seem completely OBSESSED with smearing & libeling Acharya - Read this and you'll see what I mean http://therefinersfire.org/churchward.htm

I do believe Acharya has plans on a 2nd edition for Christ Conspiracy at some point - maybe she will remove all of the Churchward quotes, then the Churchward's will be completely forgotten about and Jack will then have to find something else to complain about.

Anonymous said...

In response to disparaging comments about Jack Churchward, I would recommend that people actually read what was said and written, instead of taking the words of this person as the truth.
Comments were deleted for ad hominem attacks and/or profanity.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is DM Murdock is a dis-informationist bent on steering people away from the truth...