Michael Lohr interviews author Ahmed Osman, who believes that the origins of Judaism and Christianity can be found in ancient Egypt.

Ahmed Osman is a fascinating and highly controversial individual. His international bestselling books, such as Jesus in the House of the Pharaohs, Moses and Akhenaten: The Secret History of Egypt and Out of Egypt: The Roots of Christianity Revealed are written from the experience of more than twenty-five years of research. Each book is as engaging and thought-provoking Osman is, not to mention very polemical. Some have declared them to be a paradigm shift in historical and religious thought, while others claim they are nothing more than unadulterated blasphemy.
 

That’s to be expected though when you go about declaring that King Tut was actually Jesus Christ and that the Book of Joshua is pure fiction and propaganda. Avant-garde historical scholars such as Osman spend a lifetime ruffling more than a few feathers. While most archaeologists, from both Egypt and the West, refuse to debate Osman’s view, religious scholars from both Islam and Coptic Christianity contend that Osman’s theories do not pose a fundamental contradiction to their belief systems. Though they will not officially sanction them, they have not ruled them out either.
 

Osman was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1934 and now calls London, England home. He studied law at Cairo University and worked as a journalist for many years. He first gained notoriety for publishing his theory that prominent Biblical figure, Joseph the Patriarch and owner of the coat of many colors was, according to Osman, actually Yuya the minister and father-in-law to Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who lived from 1405 BC to 1367 BC. By anybody’s standards, that is a very inimical way to begin one’s writing/historian career.

Osman reiterated some of the concepts covered in his book, Out Of Egypt: The Roots of Christianity Revealed, explaining his position further. He also explained the perceived confusion between the historical figures of Jesus and Joshua. “What I wanted to show in Out Of Egypt is that Christianity did not really appear first in Palestine, but in Egypt. In fact, until this day there is no one single historical evidence to relate either the historical Jesus or the emergence of Christianity in Palestine. It was not before the 4th century, when Constantine the Great first adopted Christianity that the claim of founding Christian locations in Palestine started. Before that date, all Christian pilgrims traveled to Egypt, which has been regarded as the Holy Land until that date.”

Osman believes that evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as the Nag Hammadi Library, show that early Christianity followed two very diverse paths. Osman feels that “there was the Jewish/Christian Essene community in Palestine, with which can associated with both John the Baptist and Simon Peter. On the other hand there was the Gnostic Gentile Christian community in Egypt, where St Paul was initiated to his different Gospel when he withdrew for three years in the Sinai. As the Jewish/Christian community of Peter disappeared in 70 AD, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, it was the Gnostic community of Paul that spread Christianity among the Gentile nations. According to Osman, the name Jesus comes from the Greek translation of the name Joshua. Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, in his book about the history of the Church, theorized that Jesus appeared twice, once in the persona of Joshua the son of Nun, which he regards as a pre-existence, then in the persona of Jesus the Christ, the son of Mary.”

While the is no source, outside the New Testament, to confirm the historical appearance of Jesus during Roman rule, according to Osman, there are many indications that the historical Jesus lived and died a long time prior to the Roman rule of Judea. In Osman’s book Jesus in the House of the Pharaohs (entitled The House of The Messiah in the UK) he discussed the evidence supporting his claims that the historical Jesus was actually Tutankhamun, a very controversial theory to be sure. Osman claims that Jesus Christ was hung, not crucified, on the eve of Passover in 1352 BCE by the priest Panhesy, also known as Phineas. “There is a strange story in the Talmud, which includes a mass of Rabbinical Scriptures, about the death of Jesus Christ. It says that: ‘Pinhas…killed him [Jesus]’. Nobody could understand the real meaning of this statement. Pinhas, or Phinhas, was the priest of Moses in the wilderness of the Sinai. He is reported to have killed an important Israelite man, in the holy of holies of the Tabernacle, the temple tent built by Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai. Although another name is given in the Book of Numbers for the assassinated Israelite, it is obvious that Joshua was the real victim. According to the Bible, only three people could get to the holy of holies of the Tabernacle, Moses, the high priest and Joshua the son of Nun. As I have identified Moses with Akhenaten, I also had to see if Joshua, Moses’ successor, had any connection with Tutankhamun, Akhenaten’s successor.”

Osman claims that Pinhas in fact was a rare translation of the Egyptian name PaNehesy, and also the name of Akhenaten’s priest at the temple of Aten. “It was Tutankhamun who reopened the temples of the old gods, which were closed by Akhenaten. He represented the prophet who was trying to turn his father’s followers back from monotheism.” In fact, in Jesus in the House of the Pharaohs it was Osman who first claimed that Tutankhamun was murdered. Osman further explains, “of course, while allowing his people to worship in the old temples, Tutankhamun still worshipped Aten as the one deity. In this way he transformed the ancient pantheon into a gaggle of mediating angelic powers. But this was not understood by PaNehesy, who regarded him as a deceiver and blasphemer.” Osman’s notion explains that Tutankhamun reintroduced the deity Osiris and the corresponding belief system by melding it into the Aten belief system, thus making him not only the deity of light, but also the deity of darkness, the ultimate example of spiritual duality.

If Jesus, in actuality was Tutankhamun, then I just had to ask the $64 thousand question, who then was the Jesus that Christians believe was crucified in the 1st century AD by the Romans? Osman replied matter-of-factly, “the gospels of the Nag Hammadi do not talk of a crucifixion under Pontius Pilate, neither does St Paul in any of his letters. Some Gnostics believe it was someone else, someone called Simon, who was killed on that occasion.” But then Osman astonishes me with what he says next. “However, I do believe that Jesus died on the cross, not the Roman cross, but the Egyptian ankh cross. All ancient Egyptian kings are believed to have been sacrificed on this cross. Though crucifixion on this cross only means physical death, not spiritual. The ankh was a symbol, not of death, but of life, and it is the ankh that was used by all Christians until the 4th century when the Vatican introduced the Roman cross for the first time. Even the cross that is reported to have been seen by Constantine, the cross that foreshadowed his conversion, represented the Egyptian ankh.”

And in his book Moses and Akhenaten, put forth the concept that ancient Hebrew prophet Moses was actually Egyptian rebel priest Akhenaten who was cast out of Egypt for introducing the heretical religious practice of monotheism with the deity Aten. Osman feels there is much evidence to support his stance. “To start with, both Moses and Akhenaten called for the worship of one deity, with no graven image. It is true that Abraham also worshipped one god, but the Hebrew patriarchs accepted that other nations also have other gods. Akhenaten’s deity was universal for everyone, while the Hebrew god was just for the Hebrews. Sigmund Freud, in his research on the foundations of religion, actually revealed how Akhenaten’s beliefs were the same as those of Moses.” Sigmund Freud published Moses and Monotheism in 1939. This book had a profound impact on Osman’s career. So much so, that some have said Ahmed Osman’s research has vindicated Freud’s investigation. After 25 five years research, it was Freud’s book that proved invaluable inspiration for Osman. Freud speculated about the relationship between Akhenaten’s religion and that of Moses. However, Freud originally believed that Akhenaten had died at the end of his 17 years reign, and therefore could not have led the Exodus out of Egypt. What Osman discovered, was evidence of Akhenaten’s abdication of the throne and his exile into the Sinai.

As for historical evidence, Osman asserts that there is sufficient proof available to prove his theories. “Akhenaten’s mother, Queen Tiye, was the daughter of Yuya whom I have identified as patriarch Joseph of the coat of many colors. When he failed to impose his new deity on the Egyptians, Akhenaten was forced to abdicate the throne by an armed coup, and he had to go into exile in the Sinai desert. Then the only historical evidence of a Semitic exodus from Egyptian Sinai to Cannan, took place a short time after Akhenaten’s rule. Shortly after the death of Ramses I, who established the 9th Dynasty, the news came of a Bedouin rebellion in the Sinai, where they had been trying to cross the border into Canaan. Seti I, Ramses’ successor, chased them down and stopped them from leaving the country.”

I next discussed with Osman the evidence discovered that indicates the Exodus from Egypt was actually Akhenaten followers. There were rumors that some pottery was discovered in the Sinai a few years ago, at an Israeli archaeological excavation site that had Egyptian hieroglyphics on it. These pieces were supposed to be in possession of the University of Tel Aviv but have subsequently disappeared. “I know nothing about the Israeli discovery, but the rebellious elements of the Semites who were trying to leave Egypt are called the Shasu, by the Egyptian scribes. The term Shasu is directly associated with the Bedouins of Sinai, whom the Bible calls Midianites, who were Moses’ allies. Some years after Seti stopped them crossing to Canaan, we find among the tribes in eastern Jordan, Shasu tribes. They eventually forgo nomadic traditions and colonize the mountainous area of Judea, during the time of Ramses II.”

When Emperor Constantine gave Bishop Makarios of Jerusalem permission to excavate the Tomb of Christ believed to be underneath the ancient Temple of Aphrodite in 325 AD, he discovered some wood fragments. Osman was confused, as am I, as to how Bishop Makarios determined that these wood fragments originated from the true cross of Christ.

Osman explains, “Alexandria in Egypt had been the centre of Christianity until that date, Rome needed to shift attention and power away from the Coptic sect by claiming such a discovery. After Bishop Makarios made his ‘discovery’ the Romans burned down the Temple of Serapis in Alexandria and destroyed the famous Library kept there as a way to destroy the wisdom of Egypt and all those secrets stored there. The result was ten centuries of darkness until the renaissance was reestablished on once lost Alexandrian knowledge.”

Osman argues that Christianity has its roots in the Alexandrian Cult of Serapis. The doctrine of the cult of Serapis established an unprecedented belief that its followers could obtain the right to eternal life without the need for mummification. This was a great paradigm shift for Egyptian culture. For over four thousand years, if not longer, Egyptian spiritual belief was that mummification was the only way to immortality. “What the cult of Serapis did was to instruct a person that all they had to do was confess love and admiration for the cult’s deity and go through an initiation ritual including the rite of baptism and immortality was assured. The cult of Serapis was very successful throughout the Mediterranean and Asia Minor, especially in Rome, where it supplanted the state religion as the most popular belief system by about 105 BC. I believe Christianity to be the last phase of ancient Egyptian religion. Rather that dismissing, suppressing, and destroying the ancient knowledge in order to establish the new faith. Christianity in fact was born out of paganism. Like the human evolution, our beliefs have also gone through a long time of evolution to arrive to the current Christian belief system.”

He is not the first person to present such a hypothesis as the same argument can also be found in Jesus In The Land of the Pharaohs. Beyond the fact that Moses and Joseph were both supposed to have received full Pharaonic burial rights upon death, it cannot be a coincidence that the Copt language used, in the Coptic Christian Church, is actually the same language used by the ancient Pharaohs of Egypt.

But it’s not just Moses and Jesus Christ that Osman believes he has identified. He also believes that the Hermitic spiritual guide, Hermes Trismegistus, also known as the Egyptian god of wisdom, Thoth, who it was said was the creator of the Heiroglyphic writing system and the bringer of knowledge to the ancient Egyptians, to be King David of Judea. Osman also identifies King David as being the same person as King Tuthmose III. The implications of these theories, if correct, are staggering.

Not surprisingly, most Egyptologists vehemently disagree with Osman’s theories. Most Egyptologists, on sheer principle, would disagree with anyone without a doctoral degree in phonetic Hieroglyphic dialects if they said the Egyptian desert was made of sand. Osman says that “Egyptologists have established their careers on interpretations only.”

I brought up Helmut Koester to Osman to see what his thoughts were about the renowned Harvard University Professor of Ancient Christianity who assisted Osman with his book Out Of Egypt. “I went to Harvard to see Professor Koester, he was kind enough to give me three hours of his time. As he is a senior professor, I could check my own research for my book Out Of Egypt by talking to him. I was more than honored when, after three hours discussion, he asked me if I could wait for him to finish his lecture so we can resume our talk. We had two more hours of conversation. I found validation when Professor Koester told me that he believed the discovery of the Nag Hammadi Coptic Library has completely changed our understanding of early Christianity in Egypt.”

I came away from my conversation with Ahmed Osman with a much greater appreciation for the research that he has completed over the years. If you find these subjects covered here fascinating then do yourself a favor and seek out his fascinating books. His next book is due out soon and is titled, The Coptic History of Egypt: The Lost Memory.

 

Ahmed Osman’s Official homepage: http://www.ahmedosman.co.uk
 

Additionally here are a couple excellent websites about Mr. Osman and his work

http://dwij.org/forum/amarna/egypt.htm


http://freespace.virgin.net/a.osman/

------------------------------------

Michael Lohr is a university researcher, professional journalist, spiritualist, outdoorsman, treasure hunter and adventurer. His writing has appeared in such diverse magazines as Cowboys & Indians, Esquire, The Economist, National Geographic and Men’s Journal, to name a few.

His webpage can be found at: http://www.internet.is/artist/writer/michael_lohr.htm