Mithras and Jerome

A comment draws my attention to E. H. Henckel, De philtris.[1]  On page 39, there is an interesting statement.

Magnam vim Basilidiani suo Deo ABRASAX (quem Basilides pro summo habebat numine, nomine prorsus fictitio; Sed quod litteris contineret numerum dierum, quos annus habet absolutus: unde & B. Hieronymi suspicio erat, Abraxas esse non alium, quam Persarum Mithram, hoc est, Solem, qui annuo cursu hoc spatium conficit. …

The Basilidians [assigned] the great power to their god ABRAXAS (whom Basilides considered the greatest divinity, under a fictitious name; but because the letters contained the number of days in a complete year: from which also the blessed Jerome suspected that Abraxas was no other than Mithras of the Persians, i.e the sun, which in the course of the year completes this total. …

This is a reference to Jerome’s Commentary on Amos, book 5, ch. 9-10, which may be found amid all the other literary testimonies to Mithras here:

Basilides gives to the omnipotent god the uncouth name of Abraxas, and asserts that according to the Greek letters and the number of the cycle of the year this is comprehended in the sun’s orbit. The name Mithra, which the Gentiles use, gives the same sum with different letters.  (Geden)

Geden’s footnote explains:

I.e. Μειθπας = 40 + 5 + 10 + 9 + 100 + 1 + 200 = 365; Ἀβράξας = 1 + 2 + 100 + 1 + 60 + 1 + 200 = 365.

Numerology attracts a certain kind of mind, and it’s something to be aware of.

  1. [1]Frankfurt, 1590

6 thoughts on “Mithras and Jerome

  1. I’m glad you made out all that. I remembered Basilides after I commented, and I’ve been trying to stop posting three postscripts to every comment of mine…. 😛

    How’d you like the anti-love-potion opening quote? Very Hogwartish.

  2. Looks like:

    Yadavaot: Istoriya i uchenie na gnosticheskata religiya.

    Author: Archimandrite Pavel Stefanov.

    Publisher: Omofor, 2008. 504 pp.

  3. Argh! I’m blind!

    Yaldavaot: Istoriya i uchenie na gnosticheskata religiya.

    Author: Archimandrite Pavel Stefanov.

    Publisher: Omofor, 2008. 504 pp.

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