Mark is a mixed genre of Greek novel and Jewish pesherim. The pesherim is similar to the Midrash and pesherim found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Midrash would not be the correct label for what the Gospels are doing with the Tanakh. Calling them “pesherim” would be much more correct. The differences mainly being that a midrash still basically sticks to the main story in the Old Testament, it just adds details and links together other OT passages in order to expand it. A pesher basically disconnects the text from the main story and renders it in some unique ways. The literary practice we are seeing is narrative mimesis, where the OT (mostly the greek translations of the LXX) is the hypotext, and Mark is the hypertext.
Brodie in his book “Beyond the historical Quest”, explains why the gospels (what we would call in modern times) just “plagiarized” the Tanakh, Greek literature and even Pauls epistles among other writings. They would use verbatim verses instead of footnotes, the ancients were so well versed in the Tanakh, they knew straight away what part of the OT the gospel story was referring:
“radical difference between the way literary texts are composed in modern times and the way in which they were composed by ancient writers. At the heart of the composition of ancient texts, including biblical texts, lay a visceral instinct for literary preservation. The reason for this deep seated custom of preservation and re-use seems to lie, in part at least, in a feeling that existing knowledge, stored largely in precious handwritten texts, was not to be taken for granted but was to be thoroughly understood, imitated (imitatio; Greek, mimesis), emulated (aemulatio; Greek, zelos), rewritten (in diverse forms, Near Eastern and Mediterranean) and thereby preserved.” ~ Brodie, Beyond the historical Quest, 128.
In this post we will inspect other hypotexts other than the OT for memises. These texts are mainly found through Greek culture.
In part one we will inspect similar contemporary Greek novels. In part two we will see Marks use of Homer for structure and style of the gospel. Finally in the third part we will appreciate Euripides play The Bacchae and it’s similarities in establishing new cults. Most of the stories of the gospel came from scriptures. To see Marks use of the Tanakh see Dr Prices “Christ Myth Theory and its problems”. To dissect and examine one side of the genre, on this post I’m concentrating on the Greek side of this genre.
Dennis R. MacDonald in his books, “Homeric Epic and the gospel of Mark” and “The Dionysian Gospel: The fourth gospel and Euripides”, has shown how Greek culture has affected the gospels. Here I am going to examine the Greek Novel, Greek plays and Homeric Epic poems.
The evangelists wrote in the wrong country and wrong language to be eyewitnesses. At best they may have picked up some eyewitness accounts and included them in their gospels. All the gospels are written in Greek, the langua franka of the eastern empire. As a result the evangelists were highly educated and used the latest writing techniques of their day. These techniques included memises, and a favourite target for imitation was Homeric epic, even Plato was quoted at saying “this poet has educated Greece”. The Hawara Homer in the Bodleian MSS, just shows the popularity of Homer amount the elite up to the first few centuries of the common era. Evidence of Odyssean influence on a contemporary Greek novel such as Chariton wrote is apparent. Mark by using Greek genre of βίοι has a mixture of literature and history combined. MacDonald has stated that Mark is an imitation of “specific texts of a different genre: Mark wrote a prosed epic modeled largely after [Homers poems] the Odyssey and the ending of the Illiad.” This memises is largely discussed in his book, “Homeric Epic and the gospel of Mark”. This is the subject I deal with further down.
For βιοι see this link:
For now I’m going to show more contemporary (with the gospels) Greek novels and see how they have affected the gospels. This may help us determine Marks genre.
FIRST PART: GREEK NOVAL.
CASE STUDY ONE: “Life of Aesop”.
Both the gospel of Mark and this novel (Life of Aesop) are roughly contemporary and both are anonymous. Both seen as aretalogical, novelistic biographies. The two stories criticize values associated with elite Hellenistic classes. In the case of Aesop as a slave is given rhetorical skills by the gods where he was soon able to outclass his master Xanthus and basically soon was in control.
Both sets of writings turn shame into honor. Jesus use of terms in ch9+10 like that of “child”, Mark9:36-37, was a term commonly used for a slave. This would challenge anybody who was culturally formed within the honor shame values of the time. In Mark one must utterly invert conventional meanings of greatness so that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. (Mark10:42-45).
The Life of Aesop’s story of Xanthus’s wife washing the rustic’s feet relates similarly to the Gospel of John’s story of Jesus washing Peter’s feet. The washing of the feet in John 13:1-20 is a ritual of inversion which transforms the ritual of receiving someone into one’s home, carried out by slaves and common to many cultures in the ancient world. Here in Johns gospel the ritual is used as an admission to discipleship. Aesopic conversations may have encompassed the Gospel of John in the first centuries of Christianity. It confirms that John 13:1-20 has to be set against the background of Graeco-Roman banqueting customs, especially as regards the slaves’ function and the use of the linen cloth for washing feet.
CASE STUDY TWO:
Chariton of Aphrodisias (Greek: Χαρίτων Ἀφροδισεύς) was the author of an ancient Greek novel probably titled Callirhoe.
Here is the following extract from that novel:
“Without even seeing them or listening to their defense he immediately ordered the sixteen cell-mates to be crucified. They were duly brought out, chained together at foot and neck, each carrying his own cross. The executioners added this grim public spectacle to the requisite penalty as a deterrent to others so minded. Now Chaereas said nothing as he was led off with the others, but on taking up his cross Polycharmus exclaimed, “It is your fault, Callirhoe, that we are in this mess.” … Mithridates sent them all to save Chaereas before he died. … So the executioner stopped his work, and Chaereas descended from the cross, regretfully, for he had been glad to be leaving his miserable life and unhappy love. … “Because of you I have ascended the cross and uttered not a word of reproach. If you should still remember me, then my sufferings are nothing.”
What is important in the present context is that the novelist Chariton, writing at the beginning of the Christian era, if not earlier, mentions an empty sepulcher. Chaereas goes to the grave of his (supposedly) deceased wife, Callirhoe. Here are the key sentences with which Chariton describes this visit: Chaereas “arrived at the tomb at daybreak.” “He found the stones removed and the entrance open. At that he took fright.” “No one dared enter (the tomb).” “He could not believe that his wife was not lying there.” “He searched throughout the tomb, but could not find anything.” Finally, Chaereas says, speaking in spirit to his wife, “I will search for you by water and by land.” Callirhoe is not really dead, but only seems to be so. There is agreement between the story of Chaereas and the New Testament that is almost word for word at some points. The connections with the fouth gospel are again particularly clear, since there the fact of the empty tomb is especially emphasized and elaborately portrayed (Jn 20:5ff.).
CASE STUDY THREE:
Out of this same era as Chariton’s novel Callirhoe comes Xenophon of Ephesus’ novel known as The Ephesian Tale. In this story, the protagonist Habrocomes likewise is crucified and in this case unambiguously survives the crucifixion through miraculous means.
ALL EXAMPLES SHOW THAT MARK WAS A LITERARY PRODUCT OF ITS TIME AND HELLENIC GREEK PLACE IN HISTORY. ( This Post is not to show Mark wrote a novel that was mistaken for history. This Post was written to show you the genre of Marks gospel by showing you and comparing contemporary Greek novels).
SOURCES: ( linked above).
The “Life of Aesop” and the Gospel of Mark: Two Ancient Approaches to Elite Values
DAVID F. WATSON
Journal of Biblical Literature
Vol. 129, No. 4 (WINTER 2010), pp. 699-716
The Resurrection Stories
JHC 4/2 (Fall, 1997), 138-149. Theologische Literaturzeitung 12 (1948), 740-742. Translated by Eric Weinberger. Original JHC page numbers in brackets.
Jeffrey Henderson, Longus: Daphnis and Chloe – Xenophon of Ephesus: Anthia and Habrocomes (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009), 204-210
PART TWO: HOMERIC EPIC POEMS
First of all I’m going to deal with the two feedings in Mark as these had many sources, two from the Old Testament (Kings and Exodus) and one source Homers epic poem (Odysseus).
Mark’s gospel, that he has two versions of the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes (6:34-44; 8:1-9).
The thing that strikes us first is perhaps the suspicion that a single basic sequence was passed on intact by means of a process of oral transmission which eventually allowed many of the details to change and develop, until there were (at least) two versions circulating by the time Mark encountered the tradition. They were different enough that he decided not to risk leaving either set out. Like a modern fundamentalist faced with a set of biblical contradictions, Mark may have assumed similar events happened twice. At any rate, the mere fact of the doubling of the story chain is highly significant, since it allows us to gauge the kind of variation and evolution that was possible in the oral tradition.
Semitisms are linguistic features within the Greek texts which are dissimilar and otherwise unused in the Greek language but common and well known in the Semitic languages and translations of Semitic texts such as the LXX.
Hebrew and Aramaic do not have grammatical case while Greek does, so overuse of nouns and pronouns connected to possession, nominative, and accusative case is extremely bizarre writing in Greek but normal in NW Semitic.
Redundancy of Nominal/Accusative/Genitive phrases
-συμπόσια συμπόσια 2x in Mark 6:39-42
Idiomatic Narrative Phrases
– ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν in Mark 6:37
– Ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις in Mark 8:1
– ἔκλασεν καὶ ἐδίδου in Mark 8:6
This would mean that there was a previous text which would have been translated from a Semitic language into Greek.
MIRRORING THE SEPTUAGINT
The two sea miracles recall Moses’ parting the sea (Exod. 14), while the pair of feeding miracles mirror Moses’ feeding the Israelites in the wilderness with manna and quails (Exod. 16; Num. 11:4-15, 18-23, 31-32) and Elisha’s miraculous multiplication of food in 2 Kings 4:1-7 and 4:42-44.
SOURCE Deconstructing Jesus, Dr Price.
MEN ONLY AT FIRST FEEDING
At Mark6:44 the word ‘ANDRES’ (ἄνδρες) is used.
καὶ ἦσαν οἱ φαγόντες τοὺς ἄρτους πεντακισχίλιοι ἄνδρες.
It is a Greek word for male gender only. This was very strange to have males only at the first feeding so Matthew changed this to include women and children. Why male only? Because it parallels with both 2Kings4:43, “How can I set this before 100 men…”
Not only that but it also parallels with a feeding in the Odyssey by Homer of only men……
HOMER EPICS AND THE GOSPEL OF MARK P86 onwards (MacDonald).
“When Telemachus and Athens arrived at Pylos they witnessed a feast to Poseidon on the shore at which the celebrants sat divided into units and 500 men were in each, 4500. Later Homer makes it clear that this is a feast only the men of Pylos participated. The male only party in Homer presumably is due to the nature of the feast – a sacrifice by sailors to secure favorable weather and seas from Poseidon.
“the men (άνδρών) of Pylos” participated.
The 5000 whom Jesus served at the shore of the Sea of Galilee likewise were exclusively male. Mark gives no justification for the presence of men only. Matthew added women and children.
The correlations of disembarkation at shores and the feedings of 4500 or 5000 men are not accidental. They are Marcan flags.
Homer’s second feast at Menelaus’s Sparta was lavish but presumably smaller and because it was a wedding feast it included women.
Similarly the crowd in Mark’s second meal though substantial, is smaller than at the first and like the Spartan wedding seems to have included women.”
SOURCE Homeric Epic and the gospel of Mark, MacDonald.
WHICH IS MORE LIKELY?
MARK USED SOURCES OF KINGS, EXODUS, NUMBERS AND THE ODYSSEY.
THE MIMESES OF THE ODYSSEY
(The following is extracted and discussed in much greater detail in “Homeric Epic and the gospel of Mark” by MacDonald).
The disciples of Jesus and Odysseus retinue are all made to look foolish, more of a literary technique to enhance the greatness of the hero.
Both in Odysseus’s nostos and Mark’s Gospel, the narrator first presents the hero’s retinue favorably and gradually introduces evidence of their folly until, in the end, they fail altogether. Second, Homer and Mark both treat the hero’s retinue as a unified group. Few individuals in either assemblage have distinguish ing traits, and each group as a whole derives its identity almost exclusively vis a-vis the protagonist. Third, both retinues failed, because they, unlike the hero himself, could not endure hardships. Fourth, Mark’s Simon Peter plays a role reminiscent of Eurylochus, Odysseus’s second-in-command.
When one first meets Eurylochus, his epithets suggest that he was nearly Odys seus’s peer as a hero – “godlike” and “great-hearted” – but one’s impression of Eurylochus steadily deteriorates.6 In contrast to Odysseus, Eurylochus does his best to avoid danger and suffering. “Eurylochus . . . is set up by the narrator to represent the craven attitude toward life.” No other character speaks on behalf of the entire crew; it is he who opposes Odysseus on behalf of the others, who, like himself, are incapable of enduring hardships.
Similarly in Mark, the reader first views Peter favorably: he had left everything to fish for humans, and he was the first· character, apart from the demons, to recognize Jesus’ true identity. He spoke not merely for himself but for the Twelve as a whole. But one’s assessment of Peter changes dramatically in a series of disputes over suffering.
Peter could not understand a messiah who must suffer and die. “But turning and looking at his disciples, he [Jesus] rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’ ”
Peter, his second-in-command, three times denied knowing him, and all proved to be greedy, cowardly, potentially treacherous, and above all foolish, unable to understand and respond as they ought. Such harsh treatment of the disciples surely is a Marean creation, and Matthew and Luke repeatedly deleted disparaging passages or adjusted them to improve apostolic reputations.
Sons of Thunder:
Only Mark says that Jesus renamed James and John, Boanerges or sons of thunder. Greeks knew Castor and
Polydeuces as sons of Leda by her husband Tyndareus, but also as the Dioscuri, “Zeus’s boys.” Among Zeus’s epithets were “the Thunderer” and “the Thunder ing One.” His father Cronos bore the epithet “Father-of-thunder-and-lightning.” As early as Homer, thunder and lightning were taken as signs of Zeus.
that the name Boanerges alerted Mark’s reader to the similarities between these brothers and Castor and Polydeuces. Mark consis tently presented the brothers as christianised Dioscuri and expected his readers to interpret them as such.
The brothers had seen jesus glorified at the Transfiguration and now wanted such glory for themselves.
In the art of the Roman Imperial period, the Dioscuri commonly appeared on the right and left of an enthroned deity.
Even in Galilee, Jesus’ opponents have ties to Jerusalem, which prepares the reader to expect the worst when Jesus enters the city.
Early in the Odyssey Homer warned the reader that the suitors planned to kill Telemachus on his return from Pylos-and Odysseus, too, if he should return.
Cleansing of the Temple displays intriguing parallels to Odysseus’s Mnesterophonia, the Slaying of the Suitors. In Book 2.2. the King of Ithaca revealed his true identity and commenced his revenge.
The overturning of tables, chairs, and vessels recurs throughout Odysseus’s orgy of violence against the suitors.
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”
In both stories the hero denounces those who had ruined his house.
Greaco Recognition scene:
Peter’s declaration, conventionally called his Confession, might better be called his Recognition. Mark8:27-28
this pericope is the turning point of the gospel of Mark, it is like a Greaco recognition scene where the hero finally recognizes himself only here Jesus initiates the recognition scene.
In fact, the scene resembles Eurycleia’s recognition of Odysseus from the scar on his leg. Peter and Eurycleia both recognized the identities of their masters, articulated their recognitions with “you are X,” and were told in no uncertain terms to keep silent about it.
Peter, in a flash of insight, correctly guessed Jesus’ identity, just as Eurycleia had recognized the beggar: “[You are Odysseus.” “Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And he sternly ordered him not to tell anyone about him.” Jesus thus silenced Peter just as Odysseus had silenced Eurycleia.
As Eurycleia recognises Odysseus she spills water from the dish parallels the anonymous woman who anoints Jesus with costly perfume lard. This woman breaks the Alabaster jar and spills the expensive lard. As the disciples give out to Jesus the clue that this is dependant on the Eurikleia scene is in Jesus answer: Mark14:9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Eurycleia’s name means “far flung glory”.
Eurycleia (εύρυκγέος) enjoyed “far-flung renown” for having recog nized Odysseus from his scar, but her renown pales next to that of the woman who recognized that Jesus must die and accordingly anointed him: “(W]herever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” She will have εύρυκγέος.”~ibid,119.
In no gospel does Jesus sail more often than in Mark, and, as far as we now know, no other author independent of Mark related jesus to things nautical. Several episodes echo sailing tales in the Odyssey. Jonah was not the only influence on Mark1:16-20.
Furthermore, attributing Mark’s story solely to the influence of Jonah in the Septuagint, fails to account for two peculiarities. First, in no other passage in the gospels does jesus travel with a convoy, as he does here: “(O]ther boats were with him.” These vessels play no role in the rest of the story, and Matthew and Luke, independently recognizing the superfluity of ships, reduced Jesus’ convoy to a single vesse!P Second, jesus faults the disciples for their lack of faith, even though they seem to have done nothing amiss. A storm arose, the boat foundered, and they woke jesus because they believed he could help them. Their question, “[D]o you not care that we are perishing?” expects a positive answer; they assumed that jesus cared for them and would have wanted to know of the danger they were in. What else could they have done? Let jesus sleep while the storm sank the ship? Both pecu liarities have a Homeric explanation: Mark imitated the story of Aeolus’s bag of winds.
Cyclops and the Gerasene demonic:
Odyssey 9.354-366 and Mark5:9
Neither Odysseus nor the demoniac gave his true name. Odysseus’s pseudonym of “nobody” indicates nonexistence; the demoniac’s (“legion”) a plethora of existences. In both stories the exchange of names gives the hero power over the monster in radically different ways. By naming himself “Nobody” Odysseus outwitted the giant, who then could not ask for help from his friends, for Nobody was harming him. jesus, on the other hand, gained power over the demons by learn ing their name.
PART THREE: Greaco play.
THE ANALOGIES AND MYTH MOTIFS BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND DIONYSUS ARE STIMULATING.
Why is it that Dionysus appears in human form? Because they are establishing a new cult in Thebes. Dionysus is key to the action in the Bacchae, a play which contains many motifs common to the ancient myths of Dionysus’ first visits to cities, especially their ruling families: these include the god’s revelation of his powers through miracles which are ignored by non-believers, violence against the god, his revenge, often through the infliction of madness, and remorse which comes too late.
The genre of tragedy is a piece of creative writing and constitutes an inseparable blend of mythology, literary reminiscences, poetic fantasy, and sometimes allusions to contemporary forms of Dionysian worship. The gospel of Mark always reminds me of a sacred play of much the same genra.
[A GOD BORN OF A WOMAN “OF THE FLESH”]
For my mother’s sisters, the ones who least should, claimed that I, Dionysus, was not the child of Zeus, but that Semele had conceived a child from a mortal father and then ascribed the sin of her bed to Zeus,  a trick of Kadmos’, for which they boasted that Zeus killed her, because she had told a false tale about her marriage…….my mother, Semele, in appearing manifest to mortals as a divinity whom she bore to Zeus.(Opening lines of the Bacchae).
Blessed is he who, being fortunate and knowing the rites of the gods, keeps his life pure and  has his soul initiated into the Bacchic revels. (Line number from Bacchae in square brackets).
[GREAT CELEBRATION AT GOD BORN]
O Thebes, nurse of Semele, crown yourself with ivy, flourish, flourish with the verdant yew bearing sweet fruit, and crown yourself in honor of Bacchus with branches of oak  or pine. …..At once all the earth will dance……raving Satyrs were fulfilling the rites of the mother goddess, and they joined it to the dances of the biennial festivals, in which Dionysus rejoices……The plain flows with milk, it flows with wine, it flows with the nectar of bees.(ibid).
[DOUBTING MERE MORTALS, HOW DARE YOU]
 We mortals have no cleverness in the eyes of the the gods. Our ancestral traditions, and those which we have held throughout our lives, no argument will overturn, not even if some craftiness should be discovered by the depths of our wits. Will anyone say that I do not respect old age,  being about to dance with my head covered in ivy? No, for the god has made no distinction as to whether it is right for men young or old to dance, but wishes to have common honors from all and to be extolled, setting no one apart.(ibid).
[REJECTED BY AUTHORITIES]
As the authorities were threatened by Jesus so too was the king of Thebes and the preserver of social order, Pentheus finds himself threatened by the Dionysian rites, which brought the women from the city to the mountains tearing animals apart and devouring raw meat of animals.
Pentheus has Dionysus imprisoned.
The Barabbas translation in Aramaic is son of the father, Jesus is self styled son of the father. Barabbas being released is an allegory of Yom Kipper, the goat released while Jesus is the goat sacrificed. As this ritual of releasing a prisoner was not practiced at time of gospels, the whole incident is an allegory. In Greece there was a festival Dionysia where a prisoner would be temporally released.
Here is a piece taken from Merritts paper “Jesus Barabbas and the paschal pardon” ( JBL 104 1985) that compares the Barabbas incident in Mark to an incident in the play ‘The Bacchae’.
“Euripides tells a similar story with respect to freeing of the maenads or Bacchae, the women worshippers of Dionysus, who had come with him from Aisa Moreover, when Dionysus continued to try to persuade Pentheus to accept him as a god and Pentheus ordered Dionysus bound and imprisoned, an earthquake collapsed the palace, freeing Dionysus unbound.”
Dionysus here is portrayed as a real person. His followers were called The Bacchae. Euripides actually believed Dionysus existed ( as a deity) perhaps the play was just made up, but in Euripides’ mind he existed.
“Both jesus and Dionysus are the offspring of a divine father and human mother (which was subsequently suspected as a cover-up for illegitimacy); both are from the east and transfer their cult into Greece as part of its universal expansion; both bestow wine to their devotees and have wine as a sacred element in their ritual observances; both had private cults; both were known for close association with women devotees; and both were subjected to violent deaths and subsequently came back to life. By the middle of the second century, observations of such relationships are explicitly made and would later be developed in various directions. . . .
A juxtaposition of jesus and Dionysus is also invited in the New Testament Gospel of john, in which the former is credited with a distinctively Dionysiac miracle in the wedding at Cana: the transformation of water into wine (2:1-ll). ln the Hellenistic world, there were many myths of Dionysus’ miraculous production of wine, and thus, for a polytheistic Greek audience, a Dionysiac resonance in jesus’ wine miracle would have been unmistakable. . . .John’s Gospel employs further Dionysiac imagery when jesus later declares, “I am the true vine” (Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινή,15:1). John’s jesus, thus, presents himself not merely as a “New Dionysus,” but one who supplants and replaces him.”~Courtney J. P. Friesen, Reading Dionysus: Euripides’ Bacchae and the Cultural Contestations of Greeks, Jews, Romans, and Christians (STAC 95; TUbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015), 19-22.
At John2:1-11, Jesus turning wine into water is a tip of the hat to Dionysus.
“Every year on the day of the Dionysus feast the temple springs in Andros and Teos were said to have poured out wine instead of water. In Elis on the eve of the feast three empty jars were set up in the temple, which were then found full of wine on the next morning.”
“the Dionysus Feast, that is on the night of the 5th to the 6th of January . . . . The Early Church . . . saw the Feast of Christ’s Baptism as his epiphany and celebrated it on the 6th of january. Equally it held that the 6th Of January was the date of the marriage at Cana”.~Bultman, John, 119fn1,119.
“From the Bacchae, Luke has derived the core of the Damascus road epiphany, the basic idea of a persecutor being converted despite himself by direct fiat from the god whose followers he has been abusing. Pentheus has done his best to expel the enthusiastic maenads of Dionysus from Thebes, against the counsel of Cadmus, Teiresias, and other level heads who warn him not to be found fighting against a god (Teiresias: “Reckless fool, you do not know the consequences of your words. You talked madness before, but this is raving lunacy!” 357-60; Dionysus: “I warn you once again: do not take arms against a god,” 788-89; “A man, a man, and nothing more, yet he presumed to wage war with a god,” 636-37; cf. Acts 5: 33-39). The maenads, though they seem to be filled with wine, are really filled with divine ecstasy (“ not, as you think, drunk with wine,” 686-87; cf. Acts 2:15), as witnessed by the old and young among them prophesying (“ all as one, the old women and the young and the unmarried girls,” 693-94; cf. Acts 2:17-18) and the tongues of fire harmlessly resting upon their heads (“ flames flickered in their curls and did not burn them,” 757-58; “tongues of fire,” 623-24; cf. Acts 2:3)! Pentheus remains stubborn in his opposition, arresting the newly-arrived apostle of the cult, who turns out to be Dionysus himself, the very son of god in mortal disguise”~Amazing Colossal Apostle, Robert M. Price ch1.
“Rituals of Christianity under the influence of Dionysus (whether in Greece or even in Palestine) that Jesus bequeaths his devotees a sacrament of his body, the body of grain, and his blood, the blood of the grape (Mark 14:22-25). Only so is he the True Vine giving vitality to his branches (John 15:1-6), does he turn water into wine (John 2:1-10). As Jesus the Corn King, his winnowing fan is in his hand (Matt. 3:12), he is slain while the wood is still green (Luke 23:31), yields up his life like the planted seed (John 12:24), and is buried in a garden (John 19:41).”~Deconstructing Jesus, Price.
The coin depicts Dionysus on a donkey, (circa 460BC) reminiscent of Jesus on a donkey.
SOURCES: two papers linked and “The Bacchae” by Euripides.