Zhen Li wrote:
Sorry for bringing up the issue again, but I think it's important to point out that there is a bit of difficulty in talking about these figures as having only one identity. I am sure as a Mahayana Buddhist you also see that absurdity. I am sure you also understand that this point can't be made (i.e. that Jupiter is definitely not equal in any way to Osiris). There are all sorts of fluidities in these identities, and this comes with the territory, where one is also talking about christianising temples of Jupiter, and of winning over converts from the cults of Jupiter, but also with people making serious mistakes. As you say, Zeus is Ammon, who is also Osiris.
Charles Crosthwaite, Synchronology, a treatise on the history, chronology and mythology of the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Phoenicians, p. 204 wrote:
Osiris, or Aphas-Theus (Pater-deus) was unquestionably the chief deity of the Egyptians, and his worship was eventually united with that of Apis. There is every reason also to think that this very temple [of Apis] is the one called in Scripture No-Ammon, which certainly means the temple of Jupiter or Osiris, for Herodotus tells us plainly that Osiris and Jupiter were the same person.
One can't really insist upon mythological figures being distinctly one thing and not another, since clearly they merge in various ways and have fluid identities.
Well, for starters that Crosthwaite book is from 1839, and I am not sure any comparative religion expert would continue to take that as an authoritative source. For an overview of where 19th century thought stands versus modern studies in myth, you may want to read this
. Second, Crosthwaite actually proposes his theory of Osiris = Zeus in Synchronology in the context of him asserting that Herodotus was wrong in the later's equating of Osiris with Hephaestus. How that became Crosthwaite quoting Herodotus, I'll never know. I agree with you that the identities of these deities are somewhat fluid. It was common practice in Greece & Rome to equate foreign gods in foreign pantheons with their own gods in their own pantheon; and while Crosthwaite's initial premise is correct that sometimes they were a little off in their equations, aside from Crosthwaite, I see no one making the assertion that Amon and Osiris are interchangeable. While the personalities of these deities may be somewhat fluid, there are definite guidelines when it comes to imagery & metaphor. The moon as a symbol of rebirth is a constant theme throughout various different cultures. Here's a good start to reading up on this
. The sun and the lion are symbols of light, wisdom, power, and conquering death. A sun god (Ammon Ra) would never be confused with a moon god (Osiris). Zeus was originally a sky god portrayed with an eagle and falls under the category of a "thunder god", as do Thor and Indra. The name 'Zeus' came from the Indo-European dius meaning 'day' and 'light', the moment of lighting up. The Egyptian equivalent of thunder imagery would probably be Set and I doubt that any Egyptian would ever confuse Set for Osiris as the former killed the later. Actually, Set would've been an apt parallel for Thor, Indra, and Zeus - as he was considered the chief deity prior to Egypt getting conquered by several foreign nations, which lead to his demonization. This example of Set does verify the fluidity of the identity of the deities, but does not negate the idea that the underlying imagery remains constant.