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(Un)holy Joshua of Nazareth

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#1 ReydeAmarillo

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 06:23 PM

Initially inspired by another thread here (in Other Settings) about Yoggy’s children, I have been brainstorming a 1st C Palestinian campaign centered around a certain famous man of Nazareth.

I am starting from the position that Joshua Bar-Josephus was originally just a (solely human) ambitious religious zealot who wanted to free his people from Roman rule and return them to religious purity once more. And so, as the gospels say, he signals the start of his mission by being baptised by John and then wandering and fasting for 40 days in the desert.

But in his wilderness wanderings he stumbles across a long lost temple to Narly, hidden in a deep desert valley. In exploring it he accidently summons Narly, appearing in the guise of the archangel Gabriel. Narly sees that with just a little manipulation and power expenditure, he can use this man to sow plenty of chaos and carnage in the region. And, contrary to the gospels, Joshua/Jesus succumbs to “Satan’s” (Narly’s) promises of power, authority and miracles and so becomes Narly’s puppet.

Players will be an investigator team(Sadducee, Army Officer leading a few NPC soldiers (bodyguard squad) and Merchant (Local Guide)). sent from Jerusalem to uncover the truth behind the rumours coming from Galilee of a miracle working rebel, there. What they find , though , is that the miracles all turn out to have stings in the tail and what once seemed holy is starting to seem quite horrific!

Using Mark’s gospel as a foundation I have been working at twisting the various events presented there and giving them a Mythos rationale and fall-out. Narly, obviously, is doing his usual “give the hairless mindless apes just enough rope to hang themselves” act, but, also using Joshua/Jesus to promote his own agenda. I would see Joshua as so naïve and wrapped up in his mission that he can’t see the true results of his actions..

I chose Mark’s gospel because it is (believed to be) the earliest and is memorable in that it has no nativity, no (in the earliest copies) resurrection appearances and presents Jesus as an all-round “Man of Action” - leader, healer, exorcist, wise-man, miracle-worker, prophet etc. Jesus here is far more “Man” than in the other three canonical gospels. All of which fits the naturally humanistic version I am aiming for.

It is just early days, but I have started to work on three potential scenario seeds based on events in Mark.

1) The repentant harlot that washes Jesus’s feet in a rich mans house is actually a priestess of Lilith, faking repentance (via Jesus) to establish herself with the powerful host. Within a few months she will ensorcel the rich man and take control of his estate. Then she will hag-ride the men of the town in their dreams and summon Lillim to roam the night time town.

2) The man who has the Legion of demons cast out of him is actually a old Mythos fighter who Bound the “Legion” of non-corporeal entities in his body – sacrificing himself for the greater good. Narly (through Jesus’s “exorcism”) will overcome the Bind and free them to run wild again !!

3) The Rich man who Jesus commands to give away everything, actually (unbeknownst to himself) owns a Mythos artefact. Giving that away will result in it ending up in the hands of a local cult or sorcerer – who will find themselves substantially empowered by it.

As I said early days and just a few ideas. But hopefully it has the gem of something worthwhile.

All comments gladly received.

Edited by ReydeAmarillo, 05 January 2017 - 06:25 PM.



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#2 deuce

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 06:58 PM

Mythos scholar and dark fantasy author/poet, Richard L. Tierney, has done a fine job with a very similar concept:

 

https://www.amazon.c...y/dp/0978991168

 

I've recommended it on this forum before. It harkens back strongly (for obvious reasons) to HPL's own The Dunwich Horror. As I noted, RLT is a scholar and covers all the bases. He's also a good writer.

 

I'm surprised that nobody has given a similar treatment to Mohammed (PBUH). As Robert M. Price and others have noted, the Prophet and Alhazred are similar on several counts. HPL, being familiar with Islam, surely didn't do that by accident anymore than he made Wilbur's life and death conform so closely to that of the Nazarene.

 

 

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Edited by deuce, 05 January 2017 - 06:59 PM.


#3 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 07:37 PM

I'm surprised that nobody has given a similar treatment to Mohammed (PBUH).


Perhaps, after thirteen centuries of Christendom's anti-Muslim diatribes, it has become passé?
 

But in his wilderness wanderings he stumbles across a long lost temple to Narly, hidden in a deep desert valley.


In the Toledot Yeshu, Yeshua's miraculous powers are said to come from his appropriation of the Name of God from the Holy of Holies as a young man. Given that most of the Yog-Sothoth-related texts of HPL's include clear references to gnostic and kabbalistic invocations ('Sabaoth,' 'Metatron,' the passage in TCoCDW following Levi, etc) and Yog-Sothoth in TTGotSK is just regular ol' God, this seems like a more fitting source of the inbreak of Outside in a gnosticism-themed scenario.

 

Nyarlathotep, oppositely, shows up in 'classical Satanist' contexts as an explicit tempter or herald of the apocalypse—he would be the John the Baptist figure, rather than the one instantiating the apocalypse.

 

If you want to take another tack, The King in Yellow is, in chambers' story, clearly a thinly-veiled Salomé, which makes the Phantom of Truth John the Baptist and the Kings in Rags and Tatters that he heralds, then, is the Christ. You can also maybe get an 'apocalypse' pun out of the 'no mask' bit.


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#4 deuce

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 09:48 PM

Perhaps, after thirteen centuries of Christendom's anti-Muslim diatribes, it has become passé?

 
Glibly put. It's my experience that no matter how passe something might be, someone will write a Mythos tale or scenario with that theme.  I wasn't calling upon all Keepers or Mythos authors to do so, I was expressing surprise that it hadn't been done (to my knowledge). Which was exactly what I wrote.
 

In the Toledot Yeshu, Yeshua's miraculous powers are said to come from his appropriation of the Name of God from the Holy of Holies as a young man. Given that most of the Yog-Sothoth-related texts of HPL's include clear references to gnostic and kabbalistic invocations ('Sabaoth,' 'Metatron,' the passage in TCoCDW following Levi, etc) and Yog-Sothoth in TTGotSK is just regular ol' God, this seems like a more fitting source of the inbreak of Outside in a gnosticism-themed scenario.

 
That is the direction Tierney took. I take it you haven't read the novel? RLT definitely takes the Yog-Sothoth route, which makes perfect sense considering how HPL handled things in TDH. Tierney also interweaves Gnosticism with a Mythos twist throughout his "Simon" tales.



#5 cjearkham

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 02:32 AM

1) The repentant harlot that washes Jesus’s feet in a rich mans house is actually a priestess of Lilith, faking repentance (via Jesus) to establish herself with the powerful host. Within a few months she will ensorcel the rich man and take control of his estate. Then she will hag-ride the men of the town in their dreams and summon Lillim to roam the night time town.

 

This deviates from your reliance on Matthew, but as this woman is conflated in other gospels with the woman who dried Jesus's feet with her hair, it reminds me of "Medusa's Coil":

 

 

It seems there was some cult of prehistoric Egyptian and Carthaginian magic having a rage among the Bohemian element on the left bank—some nonsensical thing that pretended to reach back to forgotten sources of hidden truth in lost African civilisations—the great Zimbabwe, the dead Atlantean cities in the Hoggar region of the Sahara—and that had a lot of gibberish connected with snakes and human hair. At least, I called it gibberish, then. Denis used to quote Marsh as saying odd things about the veiled facts behind the legend of Medusa’s snaky locks—and behind the later Ptolemaic myth of Berenice, who offered up her hair to save her husband-brother, and had it set in the sky as the constellation Coma Berenices.

 

Marceline, in that story, took the cult name of "Tanit-Isis", but there's no reason other cultists throughout history mightn't have identified with other North African/Middle Eastern female goddesses, so your woman could have a connection to the above cult.

 

Casting further afield for inspiration, look at M. R. James's "An Episode of Cathedral History". Lamias are not explicitly Lilin, but they are also "hostile night spirits that attack men". Should you choose to go the "Medusa's Coil" route, lamias serpentine nature could tie to the snake/hair theme.


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#6 TMS

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 04:52 AM

Has anyone here read "Lazarus," by Leonid Andreyev? It's a great story, and the original post here reminded me of it. Lovecraft must have been familiar with it, since an English translation was republished in Weird Tales in 1927, and it was also included in the 1929 anthology Beware After Dark!, which contained "The Call of Cthulhu."



#7 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 07:36 AM

That is the direction Tierney took. I take it you haven't read the novel?


Maybe if I actually get through all of Bloch and Kuttner...
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#8 PXR5

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 12:47 PM

Give Moorcock's Behold The Man. a read. I ran a Runequest Campaign based around this story.

 

Gives a different slant on the man in question



#9 Graham

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 01:15 PM

You might also want to check out the controversial Secret Gospel of Mark.


"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

#10 TMS

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 07:23 PM

I may be misremembering, but I think the Secret Gospel of Mark was used in the Robert M. Price and Peter H. Cannon Mythos story "The Curate of Temphill." I'm sure most people of Lovecraft's era would have found the suggestion of a gay Jesus about as shocking as the suggested existence of Cthulhu.



#11 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 09:31 PM

Putting aside CoC for a second, the dramatic tension of a secret Gnostic gospel that's (probably) a planted forgery and which has only been transmitted to the outside world via hearsay and a couple photographs, now lost is something that really needs to be in a Mage or Kult game...
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#12 deuce

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 05:27 PM

I may be misremembering, but I think the Secret Gospel of Mark was used in the Robert M. Price and Peter H. Cannon Mythos story "The Curate of Temphill." 

 

Yes, that was in there. You know a Biblical scholar like Price wouldn't be able to resist using that in some fashion.

There is also the "young man in Gethsemane" incident in the "official" Mark.



#13 carpocratian

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 06:01 AM

Give Moorcock's Behold The Man. a read. I ran a Runequest Campaign based around this story.

 

Gives a different slant on the man in question

 

That's a good one.  I read it several years ago.



#14 WinstonP

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 05:19 PM

Clark Smith Ashton's "The Testament of Athammaus" has some elements in parallel with the story of the Resurrection though it is not clear if those were intentional on CSA's part.

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