A recent comment on this blog asked about the Egyptian Meri as a name for Isis as a connection to Mary the mother of Jesus. If you Google Meri and Mary you will find dozens of web-sites making that connection, seeing this as evidence that Mary the mother of Jesus is based on Meri the mother of Horus. So what are we to make of this?
There are two problems. The first is on the Egyptian front. It is true that Isis is described as Meri. But so are Re and Amun and just about every other god, male or female. Meri is not a name but an adjective that means ‘beloved.’ When a worshipper wanted to describe their adoration, they would address their god as Meri, whether that was Meri-Isis or Meri-Re or whatever the god was. Meri is a generic term that is not specifically identified with Isis. In fact, even inanimate objects such as a well could be called meri. Here are some examples.
The second problem is on the biblical front. It is very possible that the name Mary is derived from the Egyptian Meri. The problem for the Jesus myth theorists is that Mary is not used exclusively for the mother of Jesus. In fact, there are at least six Marys in the New Testament. Are all of these Isis? Not only that, a study has been done from all our texts, Christian and Jewish, from first century Palestine and it has been shown that out of 328 mentions of women by name, seventy were named Mary. That means, based on our current information, 21% of women were named Mary. Are we to identify all of these Marys as being a reference to Isis?
The fact is that Mary in the New Testament is not connected to Isis. At some point, the word meri as beloved made it to Israel. What nicer word than ‘beloved’ to name a daughter? It was so nice that it became the most popular female name among the Jews. There was a one in five chance that Jesus’ mother would be a Mary and we should look to probability rather than mythology for understanding her name.