Was Moses the Pharaoh Akhenaten?

Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt and into the Holy Land. The bible acknowledges that Moses was born and raised an Egyptian in elite circles. But some have wondered whether he rose to the very top and was indeed the Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Indulge me for a moment!

This is an intriguing theory about an enigmatic pharaoh who rejected the Gods of ancient Egypt and established a monotheist (one-God) cult around the Sun. Or the Aten to be more precise.

Some, even in academia, have argued that this one-God worshipping king of Egypt may have either been Moses or inspired him in some way. The father of psychology, Sigmund Freud, even believed that Moses had been a priest in the cult of the Aten who had to flee with his other believers when the old religion was restored and Akhenaten overthrown.

Akhenaten (or Moses if you prefer!) was famously married to the incredible Nefertiti whose beautiful bust is displayed at the Neues Museum in Berlin. Their depictions are almost touchingly domestic with the queen tending the children while Akhenaten sits nearby.

I was at the Neues Museum just a fortnight before it closed because of the Coronavirus. And I filmed some of the very distinctive artwork that was created under Akhenaten. It’s almost like the artist’s rule book was thrown out under his reign and new styles developed – reflecting his revolution in religion.

You’re not allowed to take photos or film the Nefertiti bust but I found an unfinished bust dating back over three thousand years. In some ways, this object was more alluring because you could see the artist’s smudges and tracing. Enjoy the little film I made below because it may be a long time before any of us get to see these treasures again.

One key difference between Akhenaten and Moses is, of course, that we know for 100% certainty that Akhenaten existed. We have his statues, his mummy (vandalised after death) and cartouches. Of Moses, we have the story but no confirmed grave or contemporary images.

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Did aliens from outer space civilise us?

When I was a kid back in the 1970s, I devoured a hugely popular book by the Swiss author Erich von Däniken called Chariots of the Gods. You may have read it too.

His contention was that ancient monuments, carvings and stories clearly evidenced the presence of alien beings amongst us in ancient history.

One famous example in his book is a carving on the sarcophagus lid of the Mayan king Pakal Votan (603-683 CE). He was a long lived ruler in central America and Von Däniken speculated that the Mayan had experienced contact with superior alien technology (as the image above shows):

In the centre of that frame is a man sitting, bending forward. He has a mask on his nose, he uses his two hands to manipulate some controls, and the heel of his left foot is on a kind of pedal with different adjustments. The rear portion is separated from him; he is sitting on a complicated chair, and outside of this whole frame, you see a little flame like an exhaust.

Chariot of the Gods – Erich Von Däniken

Von Däniken wasn’t the first person to speculate along these lines. Imagining contact between humans and creatures from outer space began to emerge in 19th century as the shackles of religion were thrown off and science increased our knowledge of the cosmos.

In 1897, the British author HG Wells wrote The War of the Worlds where resource hungry Martians invade southern England. A later movie version with Tom Cruise moved the action to the United States.

But Wells imagined aliens as hostile and warlike with no interest in helping humanity. That jaundiced view of extraterrestrials has been hugely influential in science fiction ever since.

LEARN MORE: Nightmare visions of the future!

But others conjectured a more benevolent relationship. Aliens as our friends and mentors. The most notable proponent of this view was a woman normally referred to as Madame Blavatsky (1831-1891 CE).

She was convinced that humans in ancient history had made contact with highly advanced alien life forms on the planet Venus. Christianity, obsessed with putting humanity at the centre of the universe, had hushed this up.

It’s been hypothesised that there are stories in the bible that point to first contact with aliens and the inability of humans two thousand years ago to understand what they were seeing. So many of the visions of people ascending into the sky and fiery lights all relate to aliens and UFOs.

In popular culture the idea of more primitive species being influenced in weird ways by more advanced beings has even been dramatised in sci-fi classics such as Star Trek and Doctor Who. The Ridley Scott movie Prometheus also dabbles in the notion of an advanced species calling humanity into existence for its own dark purposes.

The belief in aliens creating humanity or turbo-charging our civilisation has been derided by a number of scientists including the late Carl Sagan. In a nutshell, they argue that the alien-human contact theorists are relying on a kind of “god of the gaps” intellectual approach. Where religious fundamentalists insert God into gaps in scientific knowledge, the first contact brigade place aliens.

Needless to say – opinions on this subject are sharply divided!

The Bloodline of Jesus and the Knights Templar

Did Jesus have a family by Mary Magdalene leading to a long bloodline that had to be defended by the Knights Templar? If there was a bloodline of Jesus – was it located in southern France or the deserts of Qumran in modern Israel? Did Jesus die on the cross or did he somehow survive to raise a family?

Let’s try and get to the bottom of this. I’m going to take you on a quick tour of biblical, medieval and modern sources that point to the possibility that Jesus was a husband and father. And that there was a Bloodline of Jesus – descendants sometimes referred to by the word Desposyni.

JESUS BLOODLINE SOURCE: Gnostic gospels excluded from the New Testament

There are a number of gospels that have come to light over the years that were rejected by the early Christian church for inclusion in the New Testament. Now, orthodox Christians and evangelicals will say flatly – that’s because they were wrong or heretical. But then, heresy is in the eye of the beholder. And what was heretical at one point in church history was not in another.

In 1945, in the Egyptian village of Nag Hammadi, several bundles of texts were unearthed after nearly two millennia in the ground. These turned out to be what are called “apocryphal” gospels on the life of Jesus. They had a very gnostic flavour to them. And by gnostic, I mean a belief in a type of Christianity that was firmly suppressed by the mainstream church in the first centuries after Christ.

The books had titles like the Gospel of Truth; the Sophia (wisdom) of Jesus Christ; the Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit and On the Origin of the World. They also included the Gospel of Philip; the Gospel of Thomas; the Apocryphon of John and the Letter of Peter to Philip. And let’s be clear – none of these books are forgeries. They were written within the first two centuries after the death of Jesus. The question is whether they have any theological authority – as far as the church is concerned.

What we get from these gospels is a very different picture of Jesus Christ, his mission on Earth and who the early church was really led by. I won’t go into all the complexities about gnosticism. But with regards to Jesus – his family members (brothers and even sisters) seem to have had leadership roles in the early church. It really was a family affair!

And Mary Magdalene was a far more important figure to Jesus than we have been led to believe. She was not the insignificant figure described in the four accepted gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). Neither was she the prostitute that she became at the hands of the early church. In fact, it was only as late as the sixth century AD before she was characterised as such by Pope Gregory.

Worse for mainstream Christians – Mary Magdalene understood the message of Jesus while followers like Peter and Matthew floundered badly. In the gospel of Philip, Mary Magdalene is described as being very close to Jesus and his “companion”. Now, we get into the quicksand of translating ancient Greek and Coptic. Needless to say, there’s been plenty of heated debate but not much light on whether the word “companion” in these texts suggests a friend or a wife.

JESUS BLOODLINE SOURCE: Alleged Cathar teachings

We jump forward a thousand years into the medieval era. Southern France is convulsed in revolt against the Catholic church. A sect called the Cathars exercised huge influence and even won over members of the aristocracy. They rejected the Catholic sacraments, had their own priesthood (that included women) and spurned the ostentatious wealth of the Pope and his venal bishops.

They also, it is claimed, subscribed to an old view that Mary Magdalene had indeed been married to Jesus. Some academics question that the Cathars believed this – though they don’t deny that Mary Magdalene being married to Jesus is mentioned by these heretics.

Interestingly, the Cathars also embraced the gnostic version of Christianity that we find in the Nag Hammadi scrolls. And they even talked about God the Father being married to a female deity in heaven.

JESUS BLOODLINE SOURCE: Taking the Cathar story to the next level

Now, there isn’t a problem for most historians with what I’ve said about the Cathars so far. It’s the work of other authors on the Knights Templar that causes more controversy. So let’s summarise them:

  • Margaret Starbird wrote a 1993 book called The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail. She’s rarely credited with her contribution to the thinking that led to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Starbird argued in her book that the patron saint of the Roma people, Saint Sarah, was in fact the daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Saint Sarah was revered in southern France, Cathar territory.
  • Which brings us to The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail originally published in 1982 and written by the trio: Henry Lincoln, Michael Baignet and Richard Leigh – two of whom ended up in litigation with Dan Brown – but that’s another story. This book picks up on the Cathar and French connection arguing that Mary Magdalene fled to France and was sheltered by the Jewish community. This memory was held dear by the Cathars. So, the church had to suppress the Cathars in order to destroy that memory.
  • Proof that Mary Magdalene was in France with child is evidenced by the cult around her that lasted well into the Middle Ages, according to Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince in their book The Templar Revelation. They point to the so-called Black Madonnas that can be found in southern France and the curious depiction of Mary Magdalene with a child.

Picking up on what Picknett says – it should be noted that a very popular abbey for medieval pilgrims at Vézelay in southern France was dedicated to Mary Magdalene and did indeed have an image of a Black Virgin. It also claimed to have the bones of Mary Magdalene authenticated by the Pope himself in the year 1058. And just over a hundred years later, in 1167, it was the site of a mass burning of Cathars tied to wooden stakes.

There are medieval sources that hint at an association of some kind between Jesus and Mary Magdalene such as the works of the friar Ermengaud of Béziers. But Catholics retort along the lines that it was a “spiritual marriage”. However, if you read about the so-called spiritual marriage that a saint like Catherine of Siena believed she had with Jesus then it’s pretty raunchy stuff. It comes across to us as deeply repressed sexual longing.

For all this talk of the Cathars knowing about the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, it’s not really mentioned by Dan Brown. I’ve no doubt he knew about this theory – because of his acknowledged source materials – but decided not to use it in the Da Vinci Code. Who knows why.

JESUS BLOODLINE SOURCE: A lost Dead Sea Scroll

There is another less well known theory that places Jesus and his wife Mary Magdalene at Qumran in modern Israel. This was where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the years after the Second World War by Bedouin shepherds and then professional archaeologists. It was the centre of a Jewish Messianic community called the Essenes – who held a very dim view of the Jewish Temple priests in Jerusalem.

The book outlining this idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene lived at Qumran is called Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The author, Barbara Thiering, adheres to the “swoon hypothesis” that Jesus fell unconscious on the cross and was rescued. He was then whisked off to rejoin his wife at Qumran.

An interesting variant of this is the 1955 novel The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis. It was made into a very controversial 1988 movie directed by Martin Scorsese. But I think it’s a very Catholic story steeped in guilt and redemption. Essentially, Jesus is tempted to magically leave his sufferings on the cross. He marries Mary Magdalene and then when she dies remarries and has children.

But during the Jewish Revolt, he’s then told that it was the devil in disguise as a young woman that tempted him away from his own crucifixion. Jesus then begs to be returned to the cross. He must fulfil his mission and redeem humanity. So in this book, Jesus does take wives and has children but the whole thing ends up as kind of fantasy wiped clean when he resumes his proper painful trajectory.

A 1970s non-fiction best seller The Jesus Scroll had Jesus and Mary Magdalene holed up in the fortress of Masada. I visited there in 2012 and it’s famous for the mass suicide of Jewish rebels resisting Roman rule. The author claimed to have had brief sight of a two thousand year old scroll written by an 80-year-old man at the time detailing his biography. It was none other than a geriatric Jesus describing his decades of married life to Mary Magdalene.

Linking the Knights Templar to the Bloodline of Jesus

In all these theories – and there are more – there is the persistent theme that the Bloodline of Jesus is under constant threat from the Roman Catholic church. Not only the bloodline but all those who acknowledge it. The church will stop at nothing to erase the memory of Jesus having a family.

So – the bloodline needs protecting. And this is where we get a slew of conspiracy theories about the Knights Templar. Please search for all my blog posts on the Priory of Sion and Rex Deus. But in a nutshell – the Knights Templar are conjured into existence by a clandestine network that includes the descendants of Jesus.

Now, opponents of this would obviously point out that the Templars were fully endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church. They enjoyed huge privileges lavished on them by the popes. But then of course that very same church that had raised them – brought them crashing down. The Pope and his agents levelled charges of heresy and sodomy against the knights while imprisoning and torturing them.

So – one may ask – was there an underlying reason for that harsh and cruel treatment of the Knights Templar?

flat earth

Flat Earthers have no support in Ancient history!

Flat Earthers will find no support for their view that we’re standing on a very large dinner plate from ancient sources. Because even the Greeks of Pericles and Aristotle knew we were on a globe. They even calculated its circumference!

When I was at school, we were taught something false about the shape of the Earth.

Medieval people were not Flat Earthers

The falsehood was that people in the Middle Ages sincerely believed that the Earth was flat. Seafarers feared that if they sailed too far their ships would literally fall off the edge of the planet into the void. Christopher Columbus had to convince the church that by heading west in search of a better route to the Indies he wouldn’t suffer such a terrible fate!

The astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson appears to think our ancestors clung to this superstitious belief. When the Atlanta rap singer B.o.B recently tweeted his personal view that the Earth is flat, Tyson replied that nobody had believed that for five centuries – thereby inferring that before the Renaissance, it was the accepted wisdom.

But it wasn’t.

Even the Dark Ages rejected Flat Earthers

Even in the so-called “Dark Ages”, after the fall of the Roman Empire when classical learning was allegedly lost to us, the Venerable Bede calculated the date for Easter on the assumption that the Earth was spherical.

One mistake he made was thinking this “orb” was at the centre of the universe. It would take Copernicus hundreds of years later to put the Sun in the middle and the Earth orbiting round it. But, while getting that wrong, Bede never countenanced the notion that the planet was flat as a pancake.

Long before Bede, the Sumerian civilisation, Babylonians, ancient Greeks and Hebrew scholars – all accepted that the Earth was round. They didn’t have modern observatories or the ability to fly planes and rockets. Instead, they deduced the Earth was round from observation – mainly of the stars in the skies and their movements.

Also, simple facts like watching a ship disappear hull first when it reached the horizon.

Ancient Greek boffins blow apart Flat Earther theory

Ancient Greek super-brains Pythagoras and Aristotle wrote about the Earth being round five hundred years before Christ while Eratosthenes, a Greek scholar living in Ptolemaic Egypt even calculated the circumference of the Earth using a stick, the shadow cast by the sun in two places and some pretty basic maths. This video explains how he did it – then read on afterwards!

So why on Earth, pardon the pun, in the 21st century is the Flat Earth movement experiencing huge growth? 

The Flat Earth Conference this year was better attended than ever. Attendees were told that mainstream science and NASA in particular have been lying to them. The planet is flat and the Antarctic forms an icy barrier that stops us all falling off and plunging into outer space.

The Flat Earth view is endorsed by celebrities from ex-basketball star Shaquille O’Neill to English cricketer Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff. In an outburst against those who think the planet is spherical, Flintoff asked:

If you’re in a helicopter and you hover, why does the Earth not [rotate under you] if it’s round?

In 2007, a survey found that 55% of American adults and 95% of eight-year-olds (who have a better excuse for ignorance) believed the Earth was flat. Not even Christopher Columbus, most of the medieval church and anybody remotely educated in the Dark Ages thought we live on a gigantic plate. Yet there are people today who think NASA and the world of science are peddling myths.

Blame the Victorians for Flat Earthers

Today’s Flat Earth movement began in Victorian England with a reaction against rationalism and the scientific establishment. A chap called Samuel Birley Rowbotham (1816-1884), writing under the pseudonym “Parallax”, founded the school of Zetetic Astronomy.

This kicked off a rancorous debate that ended in a vicious court battle between scientist and round Earth proponent Alfred Russel Wallace and Flat Earth advocate John Hampden – who ended up trolling Wallace (in a Victorian manner) for years afterwards.

In 1885, William Carpenter published his book One Hundred Proofs that the Earth is not a Globe with arguments that have become common currency to today’s Flat Earthers:

  • The surface of standing water is always level
  • Surveyors make calculations for the construction of roads and railways that make no allowance for the Earth’s surface being curved
  • The light from lighthouses is seen from distances that should be impossible if the Earth was round
  • Mariners use maps and not globes because the Earth is flat

Carpenter begged his readers to just use their senses and trust the bible – which he claimed made no assertion of the Earth being round (but neither does it state it’s flat). His lightweight arguments were known to the Ancient Greeks and refuted over two thousand years ago.

DISCOVER: The strange green children of Wulpet

Ancient Greeks versus Victorian Flat Earthers

Eratosthenes, using his calculations of the Earth’s size, was even able to work out a distance from the Earth to the moon and a rough idea of its size. Other Greeks got close to working out how gravity operates (so why human beings don’t fall off a spherical earth) and that our planet circled the sun and not vice versa. This was two thousand, five hundred years ago.

The depressing revival in Flat Earthism threatens to take us back – not to the Middle Ages…but to the Bronze Age!