Wednesday, February 1, 2012

John R. Salverda’s Additions to Sisyphus as Joseph

Submitted on 2012/02/02 at 4:48 am

Dear AMAIC Admin., I see that you get my articles mainly from Brit-Am, however the Brit-Am website (leaning heavily toward the Jewish point of view) sometimes omits portions of my stuff that it feels may offend Jews, or favor Christians. In the case of my article on Sisyphus, the following three paragraphs were left out. They belong after the seventh paragraph, before the paragraph that begins “Joseph furthermore,”. You might consider inserting them. -John R. Salverda;

The fact that Joseph was hated by his brothers would have received little attention in deed, if it were not for the Christians. For Christians feel a special affinity with Joseph, and his family feud is the first attribute that they mention about him, this is because they recognize Joseph as a foreshadowing of Christ in this regard, who also was hated by his brothers, the Jews. Even the Jews associate a Messiah with Joseph, for while the Jews insist that the Messiah must come in glory and reign forever, as the Messiah ben David, they also acknowledge that many scriptures do refer to a suffering Messiah whom the Jewish legends have distinguished from the royal Messiah and have called, “the Messiah ben Joseph,” or, otherwise known as, “the Ephraimitic Messiah,” who would be slain and then be resurrected. The legends not only connect this suffering Messiah to Joseph by name, they also make Joseph’s mother Rachel foretell his advent and even make Joseph’s dreams predict this eventuality.

The suffering Messiah, Jesus Christ or not, has been associated with Joseph by both Christian and Jew. The life story of Joseph, who was rejected by his brothers and subsequently becomes the chief over them, may well have served as the origin of the enigmatic symbolism of the rock, the chief corner stone whom the builders have rejected (Ps.118:22). This “stone” is no doubt the same one that was referred to by Isaiah (Isa.28:16) as the one to be established upon Mount Zion. What has this to do with the identification between Joseph and Sisyphus? Well, it has to do with the aforementioned eternal punishment that was inflicted upon Sisyphus, for, as is perhaps the most well known of his attributes, he was charged with establishing a certain stone upon a certain mountain, but cursed with the fact that it always gets rejected, tumbles back down, and he has to repeat the process over, and over again, until the end of time, or as we say now-a-days, until kingdom comes. Just a bit more difficult than identifying Joseph with Sisyphus, is establishing a connection between “The House of Joseph,” and “Christianity.” As is well known, Christians recognize the stone as Jesus Christ, and it is the goal of Christianity to establish Jesus as the chief corner stone upon the Temple mount, no matter that the builders of the Temple have rejected him. Having established a connection between the House of Joseph, and the Corinthians, it is here to be noted, that it’s not possible to overstate the role that the Corinthians played in the spread of early Christianity, and leave it at that. We shall return to this motif with further identification for the mysterious “stone” shortly, but first let us continue with the Sisyphus/Joseph comparison.

Another theme that helps identify Sisyphus with Joseph and also seems to parallel the themes used by the Christians to show that Joseph was a foreshadowing of Jesus, is the story about Sisyphus overcoming death. It is usually said that the story about Joseph surviving of the pit, and/or the Egyptian prison, during which he was taken for dead by his father Jacob, was symbolic of the resurrection from the dead of Jesus. Sisyphus also was able to survive his death. Death was sent to carry Sisyphus off to the underworld, but Sisyphus was able to outwit death long enough to instruct his relatives not to bury his body until he could return. After finally being carried off to the land of the dead, Sisyphus complained that he had not received a conventional burial, he was therefore allowed to return to the land of the living, in order to have his funeral rites properly accomplished. Sisyphus promised not to tarry, but to quickly have his body interred, however, he refrained from having it done, until he eventually died after living to a ripe old age. The story about the death of Joseph, who died at the age of 110, was similar in that he also instructed his relatives not to bury his body, until he could be returned from the land of his supposed death, Egypt.

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Submitted on 2012/02/02 at 10:59 am
In reply to jrsalverda.

You have put up some pretty interesting stuff, John. I think that a lot of it has value. Some of it I would consider doubtful. But that’s alright. And there are some parts that I would disagree with. Perhaps, for instance, you may stretch name meanings a bit here and there. It could make specialists wince. Though you admit that these are only possibilities. In general, though, it seems to me to be a very worthwhile contribution on your part.

I think that your Ahab/Pelops material could benefit from my article on King Baasha as Ahab, at:

Anyway I shall be happy to put up your latest post at the sites (including here) where I have placed your Joseph as Sisyphus material.

Keep up the great work

Damien Mackey


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