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The Greco-Egyptian Origins of Today’s Christian

Version of the Old Testament




By:  David Deschesne

Editor/Publisher, Fort Fairfield Journal

April 25, 2018


   Kemet, also known as “ancient Egypt,” was one of the world’s greatest civilizations.  Dating back over 4,000 years before Christ, Kemet became the center of culture and society for the world.  Kemet/ancient Egypt produced advanced scientists, mathematicians and architects.  In 2400 B.C. that illustrious society built the Great Pyramid - one of the greatest architectural feats in the history of the world, using technology and building techniques that still today have yet to be equaled by modern technology.

   Around 1300 B.C. Kemet/ancient Egypt began to be invaded by foreigners who coveted their wealth, science and knowledge.  In 525 B.C. they were invaded by the Persians who ransacked the country and looted it of much of its treasures.

   Finally, in 332 B.C. Alexander (the Great) invaded Egypt and routed out the Persians.  At the time he was considered a liberator who restored order and the old customs of the Egyptians.1  He then founded the city Alexandria, egotistically named after himself.  “Alexander the Great” was a subjective title.  Depending on which side you were on, he was either a benevolent liberator or a plundering, ruthless, murdering invader.

  In his conquest of Egypt, Alexander made his way to the temple of Amun - the Supreme creator God worshipped at Thebes - in order to win assurance from the god himself that he was, in very truth, the son of Amun and thus the rightful ruler of Egypt.2

The Ptolemy Reign Begins

   After the death of Alexander in 323 B.C., his close friend, and one of seven of his body guards, Ptolemy I Soter, a/k/a Ptolemy of Lagus became a satrap (tyrannical ruler) of Egypt under Alexander’s son, Alexander IV.  After the death of Alexander IV in 306 B.C. Ptolemy assumed the title of Pharaoh and thus elevated himself to the status of a god.3 His headquarters was situated in Alexandria.

   The people of ancient Egypt possessed a proud and long history of religion centered around Osiris, Lord of the Underworld (not “Hell” in the modern sense) and final judge of the dead; Horus, the divine son of Osiris born of an immaculate conception and divine birth; and Isis, mother of Horus and sister/wife of Osiris.  The model of an immaculate conception and divine son of a god was interpolated by other future religions’ gods such as Mithras, Dionysus, Attis, Bacchus, Adonis and finally Jesus in Christianity. But the Osiris/Horus/Isis story is where the idea first took shape on the stage of world history (it could be argued that the equally ancient Hindu religion with the Supreme God/father, Vishnu and son, KRSNA could also be the source since it also extends back into the furthest reaches of known history along with ancient Egypt/Kemet).

   In order to unite the people of Egypt with the new Greek culture that was now moving in to Alexandria, Ptolemy I decided to create a religious nexus to politically unify the two cultures.  From this idea came Serapis - a fictional, artificial god dreamt up and fabricated by Ptolemy I - which was ultimately worshipped for more than 600 years, well into the Christian era.


   The fictional god Serapis was a fusion of the Egyptian god, Osiris and the Apis bull of Memphis.  Ptolemy I also folded into his fictional creation the attributes of the Greek gods, Zeus, Helios and Dionysus.   Thus, Serapis became considered the supreme God of divine majesty, the sun, fertility, healing, the underworld and the afterlife.4  Like Osiris, Serapis was also considered the judge of the dead and the sole arbiter of who would inhabit the Field of Reeds (Elysium Fields in Greek), comparable to the Christian “Heaven.”   He was worshipped in temples called Serapeum.

   Serapis worship quickly spread throughout the Greco-Roman world and into all of Italy.  It was the most popular religion in Rome as early as 105 B.C.  Its followers could partake in eternal life after death only if they believed in Serapis, who was presented as a savior for mankind.  The Serapis religion featured a water baptism initiation rite which was echoed in Mithraism, a contemporary religion in Rome, and eventually adopted by the Roman Christians over 100 years later as they began to form their religious ideas and doctrine.  In the early days of Christianity it was not uncommon for worshippers of Christ to also be worshippers of Serapis.5

   As a fictional god, created by Ptolemy I, Serapis accomplished its goals of unifying Greeks and Egyptians under one religious icon.   Later Ptolemy rulers would actually consider themselves as gods. According to historian, Will Durrant, “Later Ptolemies encouraged the cult of themselves as gods to offer a common and convenient object of worship to the heterogeneous population.”6

   Serapis was worshipped for several hundred years before Christ and coexisted alongside Christianity until the great Serapeum in Alexandria was destroyed by Christians under the initiative of the  Roman Patriarch at Alexandria, Theophilus, in 391 A.D.7

Ptolemy II and the Septuagint

   Ptolemy II Philadelphus was the second king of Egypt under Greek rule.  He reigned from 285 - 246 B.C., co-reigning with his father, Ptolemy I for two years from 285-283 B.C., then became sole ruler in 283 B.C after his father’s death.   Ptolemy II became a master of fiscal exploitation of the Egyptian countryside and made Alexandria a main trading and export center.8

   Ptolemy II was very interested in the arts, literature and science.  While ruler of Egypt he greatly expanded the museum there as well as assembling one of the greatest libraries of ancient manuscripts the world had ever seen until it was destroyed in the 7th century A.D..Depending on which account you consider, it was either destroyed by the Romans, the Christians or the Arabs.

   In expanding the library at Alexandria, Ptolemy II commissioned a Greek translation of the Hebrew law in what became known as the “Translation of the Seventy,” or more simply, the Septuagint.

   Tradition has it that Ptolemy II assembled 6 leaders from each of the 12 tribes of Israel to formulate and compose this first Greek translation of the Hebrew Law, also known as the Torah, or the first five books of the Old Testament.  Its nickname, “70” or the Roman numeral LXX was the shortened form for those 72 Hebrew authors.10

   The first five books of the Old Testament were translated in the Septuagint around the 3rd century B.C. and the rest of the books were completed by the 2nd century B.C.  Despite tradition that said it was perfectly translated, there are large differences in style and usage between the Torah and the later books of the Old Testament.  Christians ultimately used the Septuagint to locate prophesies, but Jews considered this a misuse of their scriptures and stopped using the Septuagint altogether.  This Greek text was the main basis for  the Old Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic, and part of the Arabic translations of the Old Testament and has never ceased to be the standard version of the Old Testament in the Greek church. St. Jerome even used the Septuagint to begin his translation of the (Latin) Vulgate Old Testament in 382 A.D.11

   Later, Jews weren’t too impressed with the Greek translation of their religious texts.  In the last chapter of the Jewish MEGILLAT TA’ANIT - (the “Fast Scroll,” on which  the lists of days fasting is not allowed) it states, “On the 8th of Tevet the Torah was written in Greek during the time of King Ptolemy, and darkness came to the world for three days.”12

   In the introduction to the English translation of the Septuagint, it makes the admission that the books included in the Septuagint as being canonical is “somewhat arbitrary” but were included in the English translation from the Greek as a “bow to tradition.”13

   The Septuagint may well have been the first time the Hebrew law and subsequent stories were laid down in writing.  Prior to that time, most of the Hebrew religion was passed down via oral tradition.

   The oldest parchment scrolls of the Hebrew text of the Torah date to around 900 A.D. and were composed by the Masoretes.  It originated from oral tradition that was formulated 1,300 years earlier, around 600 B.C.14  However, no written Hebrew texts now exist from that time period even though religious texts from the Egyptians have survived from over a thousand years earlier.

      The Oxford Biblical Studies online states that there are numerous differences between the Septuagint and Masoretic texts.15  This has caused some Christian scholars to wonder which text is accurate.   

   While other translations of the Hebrew texts exist in Aramaic (the Targum) and Syriac (the Peshitta), it is the Masoretic text that most Jews use today for their religious ceremonies - not the Greek Septuagint.16


  So, it is from a reigning illegitimate Greek kingdom in Egypt, merging Egyptian and Greek mythology and religion that commissioned the Septuagint Bible most modern day translations rely on for their rendering of the Old Testament, though some translations do use the Hebrew’s Masoretic version. 

   The idea for the Septuagint was conceived by the son, and heir, of a king who purposefully created a fake god named Serapis in order to politically unify the people of two different religious cultures.

   Ptolemy II, the king who commissioned the Septuagint, was not Christian (he reigned nearly three hundred years before Christ) or Jewish.  If anything he worshipped the artificial god, Serapis, created by his father, Ptolemy I.  The Ptolemy line of kings even considered themselves as ordained by the gods of Egypt and coequal with them whenever it was politically convenient.  At other times, they worshipped and considered themselves ordained by the Greek gods, depending upon whether the audience in front of them at any given time was Egyptian or Greek.



1.  Lincoln Library of Essential Information, ©1928 Frontier Press, p. 1705

2.   op cit, p. 486.



5.  Christianity; An Ancient Egyptian Religion, ©2005 Ahmed Osman, pp. 221-225, 239

6.  The Story of Civilization, Book II: The Life of Greece, ©1939 & 1966 Will Durrant, p. 595


8.  op cit.

9.  Lincoln Library of Essential Information, p. 823

10. op cit. p. 313


12.  The New Encyclopedia of Judaism, ©1989 & 2002 Jerusalem Publishing House, p. 695

13.  The Septuagint Bible, ©1954 Falcon Wings Press, p. ix

14.  The Torah; A Modern Commentary, ©1981 Union of American Hebrew Congregations, pp. xvii, xxiv.


16. The Torah; A Modern Commentary, p. xxiv.


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