Is Jesus copied from an Egyptian God?

(86 Posts)
PenguinBear Fri 12-Apr-13 18:28:37

I am trying to work out where I am religion wise at the moment and clearly DP and I are not on the same page.

He is adamant that Christianity is made up and has said that The story about Jesus is almost an exact copy of that of an Egyptian God called 'Horus'. I have done some research and it does appear there are many, many similarities. As DP pointed out, Horus came first so how can Jesus be true?

This has really sewn huge seeds of doubt in my mind and wondered what other people's take on it is?

madhairday Fri 12-Apr-13 19:23:31

Haven't got time right now to go into this, but it is an area of interest to me. It's good to read up on the mystery religions - this kind of thing is often cited, most usually about Mithras, as being proof that Jesus was not unique/was made up etc - but many scholars agree that mystery religions are in fact so mysterious that not a lot is actually known, and certainly not a lot written down until after the first century ad, so a common consensus is that they actually borrowed from Christianity rather than vice versa. Sorry can't go into this more now - I'm sure someone will be along soon to tell you I'm spouting bollocks and Jesus was just one of many messiahs that died and rose again and was born of a virgin etc... grin

headinhands Fri 12-Apr-13 19:36:32

Put it this way, if the character of Jesus was borrowed from a different religion would it then follow that the original religion must be true?

Ohmydays Fri 12-Apr-13 19:39:37

hi, no serious historian or scholar would question the existence of Jesus. As well as the New Testament itself which compared to other historical documents has an incredible richness in the weight of manuscripts from which it is drawn.

I'm cutting and pasting below from the Alpha Course: but there are two key questions when testing the reliability of historical documents:

1. How quickly after the original was written was the earliest copy made? 2. How many copies are there?
So, Herodotus and Thucydides were both written in the 5th century BC. The earliest copy that we have is around AD 900 so there's a 1300 year gap. For each of these works we have 8 copies........And yet no classical scholar would doubt their authenticity.
Tacitus: a thousand year gap between original and first copy — total of 20 copies. Caesar's Gallic War: 950 year gap between original and first copy — total of 9 or 10 copies.
Livy's Roman History: 900 year gap between original and first copy — total of 20 copies.
The New Testament, written between 40 and 100 AD, the earliest copy we have is AD 130. And we have full manuscripts AD 350. So, at most, there's a 300 year gap. And not just 8 or 20 manuscripts: we have, 5,309 Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts, 9,300 others.
You look at this and you see it: the New Testament stands absolutely and unapproachably alone amongst ancient prose writings ........and no secular historian would disagree with that conclusion.

There are also various other historians of the time who wrote about Jesus including Roman Historians Tacitus and Suetonis and the Jewish historian Joseph.

The real and properly interesting question is not whether he existed but whether he was who he said he was - the Messiah and Son of God.

I really would recommend an Alpha course to help you think through these questions as they are great fun, non-pressurised and encourage you to ask questions and think through answers with others who are searching.

Divine Blessings for the journey ahead!

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 12-Apr-13 19:53:03

hi, no serious historian or scholar would question the existence of Jesus. As well as the New Testament itself which compared to other historical documents has an incredible richness in the weight of manuscripts from which it is drawn.

I disagree. Even if you put weight in the authenticity of the manuscripts, they hold no truth in the existence of Jesus regardless of whether he was the son of god or not.

We have plenty of examples of parables and anecdotes involving characters who are entirely fictional and created just to tell a story or send a message. I'm not saying he didn't exist, but I certainly wouldn't suggest that authentic manuscripts put his existence beyond reasonable doubt by a long shot.

headinhands Fri 12-Apr-13 19:57:52

Well that's the thing. If we're going to accept that Jesus was divine because it says so in the bible then in the name of intellectual integrity we have to accept what the Quran says about Muhummed no? How do we choose one text over the other or ny other religious text?

SmileItsSunny Fri 12-Apr-13 20:21:03

Hmmm. Don't we Christians believe in Jesus as the son of God, because he said so in the bible? (the Liar/Lunatic/Lord theory)

I'm new to this myself, so I'm sure there is much more to it!

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 12-Apr-13 20:31:18

And I believe that Dumbledore's a wizard cos he said so in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.....

headinhands Fri 12-Apr-13 20:31:19

The problem with the liar/lord/lunatic argument is that it assumes that what is in the bible is exactly what the person called Jesus said. It doesn't give the other option, which would be legend, which is the most likely.

SmileItsSunny Fri 12-Apr-13 20:50:08

Good points, both.

By Legend, do you mean, what is in the bible is what Jesus was 'reported' to have said, and therefore may not have happened at all?

SmileItsSunny Fri 12-Apr-13 20:52:03

I had understood that some of the gospel books were written within 30-100 years of the event, within the lifetimes of the disciples, and as such are more likely to be accurate accounts.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 12-Apr-13 21:03:06

You see, 100 years doesn't sound like long, but could you write an accurate account of an event that occurred in 1913 when all you have is word of mouth which is almost certainly at least third hand at best.

PenguinBear Fri 12-Apr-13 21:19:22

Some of the stuff was written quite soon after wasn't it? E.g. The book of John was written by him so must have been while he was alive? smile

headinhands Fri 12-Apr-13 22:04:18

I had understood that some of the gospel books were written within 30-100 years of the event, within the lifetimes of the disciples, and as such are more likely to be accurate accounts

I'm not sure of when and whom wrote the gospels, but what I would ask is that if you believe it 'because it was written down' how and why are you able to reject the sacred texts of other religions seeing as they fill the same criteria?

headinhands Fri 12-Apr-13 22:06:49

Just found this on Wiki

Although some notable New Testament scholars affirm traditional Johannine scholarship, the majority do not believe that John or one of the Apostles wrote it,and trace it instead to a "Johannine community" which traced its traditions to John; the gospel itself shows signs of having been composed in three "layers", reaching its final form about 90-100 AD.

LynetteScavo Fri 12-Apr-13 22:08:58

I think there is enough evidence that Jesus existed.

Whether or not he is son of God is debatable.

Tortington Fri 12-Apr-13 22:09:29

also what gospels are you beleiving? the ones the church want you to believe

the version of christianity that gives them all the power and has created such utter chaos, torture, persecution, rape, theft of property, buggery, in its name

horus is the least of your worries.

you need to just do a very quick, super simple WIKI -

the history of christianity and the politics for its VERY INCARNATION should get the best of you doubting

tabulahrasa Fri 12-Apr-13 22:15:42

There's a list of most likely dates for the books of the NT (it's not the best site, but it does a nice list) remember you're also taking off 30 odd years to get how removed from Jesus' death it would be...

sweetkitty Fri 12-Apr-13 22:16:34

One of my musings is that if God and Jesus do exist why was the last evidence 2000 years ago, why is there nothing after this?

Tortington Fri 12-Apr-13 22:33:41

one of my musings is

why do we have to worship god

what kind of being is so conceited that it wants conditional worship...conditional in that <waves hands in the air> ohhhhh worship me or go to hell / don't live in paradise

seriously, if that was any person you met you would flip them the bird

ooh worship me and you can have a tin of beans - fuck off

worship me and you can come into my big house and you will be safe forever as long as you worship me

fuck off

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 12-Apr-13 22:50:05

remember you're also taking off 30 odd years to get how removed from Jesus' death it would be...

From his death, perhaps, but from his birth or from any of the earlier points in his life that were 'reported' upon you'd be taking off less than 30 years. I'm presuming the disciples didn't just pop up a week before he was crucified.......

I thought that there was limited evidence for Jesus having existed. For a start, the name Jesus is an alternative name for Joshua ( yeshu'a/yeh&#333;shu'a).

I read 'The Jesus Mysteries' (by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy) a few years ago, and much of what they said makes sense.

I'm not a christian, I'm a pagan. But I have no problem with others beliefs. There are many similarities between Horus, Jesus, and Mithras. And others. There are many flood stories in other religious cultures.

Ultimately, I'm not sure that it matters. If 'investing' in a faith is helpful to someone, then that's fine.

tabulahrasa Sat 13-Apr-13 00:50:34

Of course if you're talking about writing after the birth of Jesus, then yes there's a much bigger gap... But as a non-believer in taking a lot of that with a pinch of salt anyway.

I'm of the opinion (for what that's worth anyway, lol) that the new testament exists solely to deal with Jesus, it's trying to make him fit with the old testament and that's problematic, which does suggest that he's not entirely a creation. If you were going to create a messiah from nothing then it would work much better, but trying to create a messiah from a real person is much more complicated.

There aren't many scholars that deny his existance - exactly who he was and what he did is another matter, but most people acknowledge that there is a basis for him being a real person.

sashh Sat 13-Apr-13 05:36:16

Are you sure he doesn't mean Mithras?

Mithras' mother was a virgin, he had 12 special followers, he had to die for the good of everyone else and came back to life 3 days later.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 13-Apr-13 07:21:52

it's trying to make him fit with the old testament and that's problematic, which does suggest that he's not entirely a creation.

That's not a great argument for his existence if I'm honest. You also have to remember that the stories were written by lots of different people at lots of different times, and like you say, they are trying to fit with the OT. They're also trying to convey various messages. There's plenty of ways he can be fictional and still carry the ambiguity.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 13-Apr-13 07:29:39

There aren't many scholars that deny his existence

Not true. There's actually a complete lack of physical evidence that Jesus existed. No contemporary Roman records of execution, no carpentry work, no artifacts, no self-written manuscripts. In fact any scholar who thinks that he did exist is doing so on belief rather than evidence.

Gingerdodger Sat 13-Apr-13 08:28:33

There have been some really interesting debates on here concerning the existence or otherwise of Jesus. I personally think that there is enough evidence for me to conclude that Jesus lived, but as Lynette said, whether he was the son of God is questionable.

The existence of Jesus is just the starting point for Christians though and faith is built on the personal exploration of a relationship with God.

The idea that Jesus is a God/Man myth is one that did the rounds in the late 80's and early 90's with books like 'The Jesus Mysteries.' No peer reviewed work takes it seriously. Books like this make a decent amount of money form the publishers so of course they get written.

Peer reviewed academic history goes with the balance of probability that Jesus lived when Christians said he did because of the evidence of the gospels and people like Josephus. Whether he was who his worshippers said he was is a matter of faith.

Now I realise that there is nothing that will convince some anti theiests that Jesus existed but you have to turn a blind eye to a lot of source material to the existance of the followers of Jesus in the Roman Emprire and the writings of the early church to do so.

What has interested me on MN is the denegration of the other that goes on in discussion. For example any scholar who thinks Jesus exists is doing so on belief rather than evidence thus the implication is that they are not proper scholars. One of the things that conflict mediators working with fundementalists do is work with this denegration of the other - all Christians are stupid, all Evangelicals are naive, all muslims are...., all jews......and so it goes.

This article gives some hope I think

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 13-Apr-13 08:54:01

I agree that existence is merely a small hurdle in the grand scheme of faith, but I'd be interested to hear about the evidence that had convinced you because I wasn't aware there was any.

But thegreen - isn't there conflicting detail in the gospels about Jesus' line of descendancy?

As I said earlier, I'm not a christian, I'm a pagan. I don't believe what the bible says, but I have no problem with those that do. I respect other's beliefs and faiths, but as an 'outsider' can see many similarities in the basic tenets. That is fine. I am not denegrating those beliefs.

Faith is what keeps people united, and morals are what guide them. I don't see there is a need for evidence, as evidence to an extent undermines the principles of faith.

SmileItsSunny Sat 13-Apr-13 11:14:53

Oh, evidence that convinced me was a much more personal experience of God, and to be fair I really haven't looked into religions in any great detail.

My belief is based on faith; the very nature of which means it is unproven.

I believe my car will work, but I don't understand it!

niminypiminy Sat 13-Apr-13 11:55:54

That Spectator article is very interesting. What would be most heartening would be for people to be able to move out of their positions of fixed opposition, and to be able to admit that yes, the other side had some good and interesting points to make, and some ways of looking at the world which make sense, and some insights from which we might learn.

headinhands Sat 13-Apr-13 11:56:46

Yeah but you can understand it if you want to. A few hours with a mechanic and you'd know more than most people. It's not supernatural and behaves in predictable ways. It's a poor analogy of faith in a god that no one has seen or has any evidence for.

I really liked the Spectator article. I really struggled to understand the basis of paganism so I read about it (Ronald Hutton - Triumph of the Moon is really good) and got to know pagans and got invited to moots. Brilliant - I wish I could get Christians to be as concerned with the enviroment as some of the pagans I know although we did an Earth Hour Service here last month. Small steps.

Maybe in reading the gospels it helps to understand that they are written for different audiences so the genealogy in Matthew is in multiples of 14 which is an important number for the Jewish converts it was written for. It includes the names of women, Ruth and Rahab are two which is unusual. Luke is probably the most accessible gospel as it is written for a gentile audience and not as stuffed full of OT references and layers of meaning as Matthew and JOhn.

Evidence on which I base my Christian faith include encounters with the living God. Not replicable in a lab which is a pity during the periods of doubt and drought but enough to change my life when I was at university and in the years since.

tabulahrasa Sat 13-Apr-13 15:32:48

'That's not a great argument for his existence if I'm honest.'

I didn't say it was a compelling argument, just my opinion, lol.

If you completely discount the New Testament as historical documents, then yes Jesus is entirely a matter of belief...but reading it and reading peer reviewed scholars writing about it, I don't think you can completely discount it.

I don't believe in god, I don't believe that Jesus is anything more than human, but I'm pretty sure that they are writing about something that involves a real person somewhere along the line.

That's the conclusion I've come to after studying it at undergraduate level - but of course I know that's only the tip of the iceberg.

backonlybriefly99 Sat 13-Apr-13 19:52:41

It doesn't have to be all one thing or the other. We don't have to imagine someone sitting down and inventing Jesus based on one other legend. Although there is no evidence of the existence of Jesus I have no trouble with there having been some man at the core of it and some of the things written about him could be true.

Bits would get added later from lots of different legends. Including perhaps some from Horus. Horus was probably based on some older story anyway as they generally are. Mary started out as just Jesus' mum and got made special much later (Pope Pius in the 18th century I think, but not sure)

God/religions get invented all the time. The ones we hear about are the success stories. In Modern times you hear about Moonies, Mormons and Scientologists and it seems amazing they did so well. We just wouldn't have noticed the ones that flopped. There's probably a Sacred Temple of Fredians out there with just 5 members that will never go down in the history books. Christians may just missed being Johnians or Thomasians which wouldn't have the same ring to it.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 13-Apr-13 20:52:02

If you completely discount the New Testament as historical documents, then yes Jesus is entirely a matter of belief...but reading it and reading peer reviewed scholars writing about it, I don't think you can completely discount it.

It doesn't matter in the slightest whether the documents are factual or not. The point is that just because something is written down doesn't make it true. It's complete non-evidence.

HolofernesesHead Sat 13-Apr-13 20:55:51

Ah, we started this debate a while ago! It fizzled out, unfortunately. Oh well...

expatinscotland Sat 13-Apr-13 21:04:42

What Custy and sweetkitty said.

I'll never forget reading a biography of a woman who'd grown up a Scottish traveller in the first part of the 20th century.

In one part, some missionaries come to their camp and start talking to her mother, who was illiterate. She asks them of the story of Abraham and Isaac, why would God need to do such a thing. She says, 'I'm just an ignorant gan aboot (going about body), but even I would ken (know) the depths of someone's love for me without expecting such a thing,' and basically said if that was God they could have him.

Goingdownthegarden Sat 13-Apr-13 22:11:16

My take on it is that it is spiritually very exciting to imagine that the stories about and surrounding Jesus are potentially partly composed specifically to demonstrate and communicate a particular teaching, partly borrowed from much earlier thinking and basically built up from the combined powers of many thinkers, over many ages, in order to persuade others of a view of humanity of which those passing on the stories were themselves convinced.
As a non-Christian, I find this view of the New Testament a very powerful one: over millenia, many intelligent - if ancient - people have worked on this version of how society should function and specifically, how this can be achieved by the individual.
To me, it is precisely upon this level - the allegorical rather than the literal, the basic principles which had been passed backwards and forwards between different peoples in the ancient world, since Egyptian times - which enables me to sense a common humanity running down the millenia and which gives credence to the moral values taught.
I realise this view upsets Christians. But it makes me read the bible to my children and have perhaps the closest feelings to "faith" which I will ever achieve.

Thanks for explaining about the gospels, thegreen. I knew there were differences, but I didn't know why.

Keeping an eye on this thread as it's proving very interesting. smile

SmileItsSunny Sun 14-Apr-13 09:08:43

That is interesting going and if everyone felt the same I imagine a much happier society. We can agree to differ on the original source. Accepting and learning from Jesus' teaching can't be bad.

madhairday Sun 14-Apr-13 19:55:25

Your view doesn't upset me, goingdownthegarden - a 'common humanity running down the milennia' makes a lot of sense. I just see it in a different light - ie that common humanity is there because of a common source of all that is good - so there will be threads picked up throughout history, all making sense of the better ways to live life. Jesus was the perfect example of such.

I'm sorry I posted and ran, OP, I wasn't too well over the weekend. Interesting thread - I think green has said all I wanted to say smile

EllieArroway Sun 14-Apr-13 20:11:17

I haven't read the whole thread, so I may be repeating what a few others have said.

Jesus is not a carbon copy of any particular God. It's a bit of a myth that he's identical to Mithras, Osiris or Apollo (to name but a few).

BUT....... and this is important....he fits very neatly into the "hero god" mould that many of the gods from that time represent.

There are many gods who:

*Had miraculous births. Some were half God/half human. Some had virgin human mothers and god fathers

*Died and rose again in order to "save" mankind

*Performed miracles - quite a few involved wine, almost all involved healing the sick

There are many other comparisons that can be made.

No, Jesus wasn't "copied" from anyone - but he is highly flavoured by the notion of how gods worked at that time.

I think there is enough evidence that Jesus existed Actually, there's none whatsoever.

madhairday Sun 14-Apr-13 20:17:21

Many <most> of these so called comparisons to Jesus can only be traced to later than the first century AD, Ellie, so may just as well have their roots in the Jesus history. Much of the details have been embellished and exaggerated by the uncredited writers of the Jesus Mysteries which was later rejected by the great majority of scholars.

And there is a wealth of evidence that Jesus existed grin

Here we go again?

<waves, by the way!>

madhairday Sun 14-Apr-13 20:25:56

The mystery religions had legends about gods dying and rising, but always in time with the seasons - natural cycles of life and death, and always framed in a legendary, storybook way - 'once upon a time' - whereas the writings about Jesus are completely and starkly different. They name names, dates, exact sayings, exact doings. They come under the rigorous oral tradition of the Jewish culture of the time. The concreteness of the Gospel writings cannot be comparable in any way, shape or form with the wafty 'mystery religions' which were so mysterious they had little shape or form, and borrowed copiously from lots of sources while the Jews carefully protected their own sources in line with their tradition and culture.

There is no equivalent in mystery religions of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal life. Jesus is not copied from Horus or Mithras or any other mystery religion, there are simply no grounds for comparison.

EllieArroway Sun 14-Apr-13 23:27:49

And there is a wealth of evidence that Jesus existed

By "wealth" you mean vague, second hand accounts of Christians written 100 years after the supposed death of the man? Oh yes - in that case there's loads!

Hi Mad - no, I proved there was no evidence for Jesus in my very first post wink.

Many <most> of these so called comparisons to Jesus can only be traced to later than the first century AD, Ellie, so may just as well have their roots in the Jesus history No, sorry. Apollo, Osiris, Mithras & Horus (amongst others) absolutely cannot be shown to date from the 1st century - they are much older than that. They certainly pre-date Christianity.

There is no equivalent in mystery religions of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal life Yeah there is.....Osiris, for a start, rose from the dead and offered the hope of eternal life. There are others too.

The parallels are not as strong as some people think - but they are there, I'm afraid. Right down to commemoration through suppers consisting of bread and wine representing flesh and blood. Dionysus has several things in common with Jesus.

Even the likes of Justin Martyr admitted the similarities between Jesus and other gods of the time. The explanation from early Christians? Well, it was Satan wot dun it. He knew Jesus was coming so set about establishing myths beforehand to damage the credibility of Jesus when he did show up.

Ooooooooooooohkaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay hmm

bumbleymummy Sun 14-Apr-13 23:46:22

Most of the sources I've read date Mithraism to 1st/2nd century.

EllieArroway Mon 15-Apr-13 00:14:03

That's specifically Roman Mithraism - it's birthplace was Persia, making it considerably older than the Roman version.

Penguinbear I am so sorry that you faith has been shaken. I really hope you will look and find the truth for yourself. You may find this website helpful. I cannot, of course, endorse it all. Of course with anything I read on the internet one needs a pinch of salt! But this may be helpful.

It goes through lots of bits of the Horus myth and you may find it helpful.

Part if it says "From this quick examination of the Horus tradition, we can see that he was NOT conceived of a virgin, and his mother’s name was NOT Meri. There were NOT three wise men who attended his birth, and he had NO earthly father named Joseph. He was NOT born in a cave or manger (he was born in a swamp), his birth was NOT heralded by an angel, nor was it attended by shepherds. There are NO missing 18 years in his life story, and NO story about a special event in the temple at twelve. He was NOT baptized at 30 by a baptizer who was later beheaded. He did NOT have 12 disciples, and while he certainly performed miracles, he did NOT exorcize demons, raise the dead or walk on water like Jesus. Horus was NOT called, “Iusa”, the “ever-becoming son”, the “Holy Child”, the “Way”, “the Truth the Light”, “Messiah”, “God’s Anointed Son”, “Son of Man”, “Good Shepherd”, “Lamb of God”, “Word made flesh”, “Word of Truth”, “the KRST” or the “Anointed One”! He did NOT deliver a “Sermon on the Mount”, NOR was he transfigured. He was NOT crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, NOR resurrected! He did NOT come to fulfill the law and was NOT said to reign for one thousand years. So in hindsight, how similar is Horus to Jesus after all?"

sweetkitty there's lots of evidence of God and Jesus now, lots of healings and miracles. At least I think so but you are very welcome to disagree.

Custardo worshipping God is lovely, it is special, it is like being in love. I do totally get where you are coming from, but I just don't agree an just wanted to give you the other side of things. It is not about worship in a sense of something onerous and awful, it is lovely, uplifting and life affirming. I know that the church and individual Christians have done terrible things. I am not defending Christians or the Church or even God, I just wanted to say it from a different perspective, that worship of something or someone good is good. Like eating healthy food as opposed to junk food, it is good for you.

There is also a thing about Mithras (as they have also bee mentioned).

Thegreen you mentioned about Christians and ecology, are you aware of arocha?

What an interesting thread, I could not get my phone to click on it do could not reply all weekend! That's why I've gone mad posting, will stop now and stop hogging the thread!

EllieArroway Mon 15-Apr-13 02:58:09

If anyone wants the actual facts of the matter, rather than the Christian take on it, then they are better off avoiding heavily Christian-biased sites like "" hmm and reading actual historical textbooks.

No Christian wants to admit that Jesus was far from original - but he wasn't. And that's that.

niminypiminy Mon 15-Apr-13 12:29:24

If I recall correctly, the 'Great Jesus Debate' thread fizzled out when Ellie flounced, claiming she was bored of the debate. This happened quite soon after it was shown that the sources upon which she was drawing were not robustly peer reviewed historical textbooks but were largely self-published and duplicated on an atheist web site. Is that a log in your eye?

lucysnowe Mon 15-Apr-13 12:34:03

The wiki page is pretty comprehensive:

"Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and most biblical scholars and classical historians see the theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted."

Jesus' resemblance to Mithras, Horus etc has been pretty much over egged.

madhairday Mon 15-Apr-13 16:12:48

They have indeed been over egged. Parallels made between ancient gods and Jesus have no more root than the Da Vinci Code does in any reality. Take Mithras, for example, most of what is known about Mithras is sourced from drawings. Compare that to the 24,000 or so early manuscripts we have of NT writings, to rigorous Jewish oral tradition and to detailed descriptions in the NT and in early Christian, Jewish and Roman writings.

Sorry, Ellie et al, the whole Jesus Mysteries thing has been heavily discredited and refuted by all but the most obscure scholars who remain obstinately out on a limb to prove their non existent points. Dionysus' 'close parallels to Jesus' were hugely over exaggerated by the authors of the Jesus Mysteries, loosely based on etchings/an amulet from more than 300 years after Christ. And Christ was based on Dionysus? No. No more than he was on Mithras, Horus or any other.

kissmyheathenass Mon 15-Apr-13 17:31:44

If you have Netflix watch the Zeitgeist movie. It is split into 3 documentary-style short films and the first is all about how and why the entire jesus story was plagierised from other folklore/religion. Its fascinating.

niminypiminy, Since you bringi it up I seem to recall sudden illness contributing to the fizzling out.

The 'Great Jesus Debate' thread exploded the "Yes of course we have records of Jesus'" myth. I doubt anyone really expected Christians to say "oh so it does" but I'm sure it was useful for many onlookers. You'd be surprised how many people think there are Roman records of his birth and execution.

Though there are still plenty of people going around saying that "Of course Matthew, Mark, Luke & John were disciples". Some people just won't learn.

And why don't we have his birth records? all that way to put their name down in the census and then they didn't bother? Oh wait, I remember now. It was because there was no census and therefore no reason to go there in the first place - opps.

Meanwhile on the other thread Christians have established that dragons were real and on the ark alongside the unicorns - wearing asbestos muzzles presumably.

Ellie, Hi, hope all is well. Can I ask, you seem to be saying that the myths about Jesus being the same as these other 'gods' is not true Jesus is not a carbon copy of any particular God. You said It's a bit of a myth that he's identical to Mithras, Osiris or Apollo (to name but a few). You rightly say people should read the the books. I am sure they are the best place to get the information.

I mentioned a site that debunks these myths. Pleaseconvinceme - I am not saying I am a big fan of it but I am pretty sure that it is correct.

Not everyone had lots of time to read the original text books, I don't but I wish I did. smile.

You could also look on dear old yahoo questions, but all sites on web will have the same problem, can they be authenticcted? Even the voted best answer says as much!

What these myths seem to do is just unsettle people as the OP said 'This has really sewn huge seeds of doubt in my mind'. I don't think it is wrong at all to have doubts but when doubts are sown by things that are unfounded then it seems best to just try and point out to places where information can be found easily.

PenguinBear how are you doing? Is all this helping you make your own mind up?

madhairday Mon 15-Apr-13 19:18:00

The Zeitgeist film has been solidly refuted. I think there are various videos on YouTube in similar style responding to all the exaggerations and fabrications. One of the authors even quoted themselves in their real name (they used an alias) to back up a point - hardly substantiated stuff. It basically makes points similar to those on this thread, without evidence to back them up - the authors have also been discredited. Not worth watching if you want some correct historical background on mystery religions, ancient gods and their similarities to Jesus.

EllieArroway Mon 15-Apr-13 21:40:43

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EllieArroway Mon 15-Apr-13 21:51:01

I would have stayed on that thread if Mad hadn't been unwell and unable to take part (not blaming her, but that's what happened) - since she, at least, is worth talking to even when we disagree.

Mad I don't think Jesus was "copied" & I've made that clear. But there was a cultural idea of how gods worked - healing the sick, having miraculous births, faffing with wine, dying and coming back to life in another realm. This is pretty well documented and hasn't been de-bunked, since there's nothing to debunk. It's how much importance you attach to it that's the issue.

And, as I said, the early apologists were aware of the parallels and had to address them - so you can hardly claim now that no such parallels existed.

The Zeitgeist film is pretty stupid and I wouldn't pay much attention to that. A better film is "The God Who Wasn't There" which is available on YT.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 15-Apr-13 22:04:26

Peace and love all

EllieArroway Mon 15-Apr-13 22:05:02

From Wikipedia........


An "epiphany" God (a god who appears to mortals)
His mother was a mortal
He was a dying & rising god
He was commemorated with bread and wine
He turned water into wine
He was brought up on charges of claiming divinity

Sorry - but there ARE parallels. Just are.

EllieArroway Mon 15-Apr-13 22:11:41

OK, well let me try again.....

Niminy With the greatest possible respect that I can find, I'd like to point out to you that Professors Bart Ehrman, Robert Carrier & Robert Price are all peer-reviewed historians. I think recommending them to Mumsnetters had value because they are accessible, popular, easy to obtain and not expensive.

I left the thread several days after that discussion when it became clear that I was embroiled in a debate with people whose motivations I doubted.

Perhaps in the future, to avoid further conflict you might take the trouble to ascertain yourself of the facts. I always do. Which is why I am so annoyingly good at this wink

Blessings xxxxxx

madhairday Tue 16-Apr-13 11:44:27

I was happy to keep going with the thread. I'm always unwell, on and off, and did have a couple of days off it, but thought I'd come back to it? I was enjoying it but we were getting somewhat stuck on Josephus wink

Quoting Wiki on Dionysus doesn't cut it, I'm afraid.

An "epiphany" God (a god who appears to mortals) - no. He was only a semi-deity and one of several children born to Zeus.

His mother was a mortal - isn't everyone's? confused

He was a dying & rising god - where does this come from? The only reference to any kind of 'rising' is when he was saved as a fetus by Zeus from the ashes of his priestess mother. Hardly a comparison to the death on a cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no theme of atonement in this - at the end of his life he ascended to 'be with the other gods'.

He was commemorated with bread and wine - no he wasn't. His followers commemorated him by tearing a human or animal sacrifice limb from limb and eating the raw body parts. Nice grin There is no similarity to eucharistic practise, apart from him being the god of wine.

He turned water into wine - no. This cannot be verified in the myth. He was the god of wine, and it seems the legend is he may have turned coin and oil to wine - a fermentation process, possibly? grin - Jesus' miracle of water to wine only has the similarity in that it is to do with wine. Nothing more.

He was brought up on charges of claiming divinity - possibly, but that was likely with anyone claiming to be a god.

Dionysus is just one case where mystery religions can be shown to be not so similar to Jesus at all. You're right about cultural legends about gods, but don't forget that OT prophecies regarding virgin birth, father-son relationship and many more aspects fulfilled in Jesus were written down in many cases before any trace of these mystery religions, as well as the fact that any details about them were not collated until after Jesus' time. Interesting that...

PearlyWhites Tue 16-Apr-13 11:46:12

Er no, what rubbish

madhairday Tue 16-Apr-13 11:52:03

Care to qualify that comment?

I'd be interested in the OT prophecies since the last time I asked someone about them they pointed me to a completely irreverent verse and said "yes it doesn't mention any of my points but I have faith it was referring to that - faith is what matters"

I think it was roughly equivalent to claiming that the song "my old man's a dustman" foretold the rise of a grocer's daughter to be Prime Minister because they were both about 'common' professions.

Oh but perhaps you meant that those other religions had read the prophecies and built their own god around them. That is possible I guess. Hey, maybe the reason the inns were all full in Bethlehem is that every con-man for miles around was converging on the spot to fulfil the prophecy. You could make a good sketch of that. Lots of Marys - some pregnant and some using pillows to look like they were. Lots of Josephs waving hammers and saws and talking about joinery. Like an Elvis Convention.

EllieArroway Tue 16-Apr-13 12:23:29

Mad I know - I should just have waited till you got back. We can resurrect it if you like - think we were getting to the good part.....Paul wink. Not today though.

Dionysus never appeared to mortals? Not even his mother? Are you sure? According to the myth, he certainly did appear to mortals - he wandered the world trying to get more believers.

His mother was a mortal - isn't everyone's? Erm....Mithras's mother was a rock, so no! These are myths we're talking about,*Mad*. Most of them did not have mortal mothers. I would say that everyone's father is a mortal, personally, but Jesus had a god instead (who was actually himself) - so I'm not quite sure what point you're making.

He was a dying & rising god - where does this come from? Hera was jealous of him and arranged for the Titans to kill him. Someone called Rhea raised him from the dead. This was after the whole Zeus stitching him into his thigh thing.

He apparently turned all the water in a fountain at his temple in Andros into wine and at Elis filled three empty cannisters with it.

It's also worth noting that it was believed that by drinking wine the spirit of Dionysus could "fill" a person. Sounds suspiciously like being filled by the Holy Spirit.

We also have a vase with a depiction of Dionysus being hung on a tree and being brought commemorative bread and wine.

So, it's all a big 1st century conspiracy, then? Deliberately copied from the OT prophecies (which aren't prophecies at all when you bother to read them) and then cobbled together to confuse everyone when Jesus showed up.

Yeah right.

I'm done for the day. Hope you're feeling OK at the moment. See you soon smile

madhairday Tue 16-Apr-13 12:30:18

Not sure where the source of such info is, Ellie, but would be interested to read. That's the thing about the mystery religions though - they're all mixed up with each other, and much based on images etc, and all over the place re dates - the NT stands alone in its grounding the events in place and time, and the details given. There can be no comparison.

Not too well atm, another bloody infection, thanks for asking. Would like to talk about Paul etc smile

HolofernesesHead Tue 16-Apr-13 12:47:59

Ooooh, the Jesus Debate has resurrected! I do love a good resurrection wink

My take on the Dionysus thing is a bit different to Mad's (with all due resoect to Mad!). I think that there are definite parallels between Jesus and Dionysus, and, going back to my hobby horse, that it is historiclly plausible that the Gospel writers, John in particular, could well have known the Dionysus myths and therefore 'used' them, esp. in the water to wine story. However, for me, the issue is this: John is a storyteller, a writre who writes 'in order that you may believe and have life'. As such, I am interested in how John may use the Dionysus motifs, and what kind of conclusions to leads onto from them. I have no problem with the idea that John uses aspects of the Dionysus myths to make points about who Jesus is - and the thing that John does, over and over again, is to imply heavily that Jesus is God incarnate, and that in Jesus, God has saved 'the best until last' (like the wine).

For John, it's not just (just!) that Jesus was resurrected - it's that Jesus is the resurrection. It's just not that Jesus can multiply bread in the feeding of the 5000, it is that he is the bread of life. Every 'sign' (or miracle) that Jesus does in John's Gospel is selected by John, as a storyteller, to tell his readers something about who Jesus is, so that they might believe in him. So I can see that John may well be making the point that Jesus is greater than Dionysus, but that point is rooted in John's central claim about Jesus - that he is the 'great I am', Yahweh (which means 'I am') made flesh - so all the 'I am' statements in John's gospel are ways of saying 'Jesus is God, and this is what God is like' (i.e. shepherd, resurrection and life, bread of life, way, truth and life, etc). So for me, allusions to Dionysus don't cause me any anxiety because I can see how John may have evoked Dionysus to say that Jesus is greater than Dionysus, and also to make the point that in Jesus, God has saved the 'best until last' (the conclusion of the wedding at Cana story).

Anyway, in many biographies, real peole are comapred to literary figures - why can that literary feature not be present in the Gospels?

madhairday Tue 16-Apr-13 12:48:37

Hera was jealous of him and arranged for the Titans to kill him. Someone called Rhea raised him from the dead. This was after the whole Zeus stitching him into his thigh thing

It seems there are two versions, depending on which woman he was 'born' from - the Rhea/Titan thing was based on Persephone, the fetus/thigh thing on Semele. Still no comparison to the resurrection, though.

You're right, it's all a myth, which is why it's difficult to pin down - there is so much circulating and interchangeable between the different 'gods'.

I can't find anything about water into wine, only about him being the god of wine, so filling empty vessels and making it from corn and oil. Still, details.

I do find it hard to get my head round the fact that the NT writers employed a rigorous oral tradition, wrote down events only 20+ years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, and yet according to the authors of the Jesus Mysteries based what they wrote on a load of beliefs and practises circulating at the time - to what point? Why? Would this have made early Christianity stand out to the extent it did? It would make more sense to say <if you take the stance they were fabricating events> that they would make something entirely new up. Instead, what seems to have happened is that there are some vague similarities to ancient belief, which only makes sense in the light of human experience, the cycle of birth and death and seasons - and that these similarities have been pounced upon and embellished to a major extent to 'disprove' the existence and/or divinity of Jesus.

HolofernesesHead Tue 16-Apr-13 12:49:24

Mad - sorry to hear that you are unwell again. What a PITA. sad Hope you are feeling much better soon.

madhairday Tue 16-Apr-13 12:52:41

Makes some sense as well, Holo smile <head explodes>

HolofernesesHead Tue 16-Apr-13 13:03:01

Oh no! Not another head explosion! I'm sorry! smile

madhairday Tue 16-Apr-13 13:08:45

I have plenty of those, Holo grin

time for a nap

EllieArroway Tue 16-Apr-13 14:04:15

Mad & Holo - Happy to resurrect the thread if you'd like to. Perhaps one of you could find it? I'll come and look tomorrow.

I have this book, Mad - can heartily recommend it. Easy to dip in and out of.

Sorry you're not well. Have some thanks and some brew and a jammy dodger to dunk in it biscuit.

Holo, I think you are right that someone writing about Jesus much later on would embellish the story with bits taken from (other) myths. Even if their intent was honest they might do so to make the point of how powerful/good he was. This is human nature and I expect that hasn't changed in 2000 years.
If I were describing a friend who was a great sportsman I might say "Oh he has won 100s of gold medals and things" which might not be literally true - and my audience would probably guess I was exaggerating - but would convey what a great sportsman I considered him to be.

However no matter how understandable and normal that urge is it still diminishes the reliability of the account.

Also when you say "in many biographies, real people are compared to literary figures - why can that literary feature not be present in the Gospels?" that's not quite the same thing is it.

For example it would be ok to say that Archbishop Carey is as brilliant as Einstein (especially in a retirement speech), but to say that he was the one who came up with the Theory of Relativity would be just an embarrassing lie and not a comparison at all.

Mad hope you feel better soon.

niminypiminy Wed 17-Apr-13 06:57:43

Ellie I apologise for bringing up that earlier thread and your exit from it. It was a mischievous thing to do, and I knew that it would annoy you.

I am taking a break from debate threads. I find it very hurtful when people are angry with me, and although I probably should be better able to cope with that, at the moment I am not.

I hope you will not mind too much if I say that you have been very much in my prayers over the last couple of days.

The Lord bless you, and keep watch over you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
The Lord look kindly upon you, and give you peace.


EllieArroway Wed 17-Apr-13 07:12:05

That's lovely, Niminy and it means a lot. Genuinely. Thank you thanks.

How about we wave a white flag at each other and start again, huh? If we resurrect the thread, then please join when you feel ready and we'll have a robust, but respectful, discussion about these things - just because they are historically interesting. Deal?

Hope you feel better soon smile

madhairday Wed 17-Apr-13 13:39:08


That has just made me happy ^^

Thanks for the get well wishes. I was actually feeling really fed up yesterday as I'd got dd tickets to see one direction tonight with her best friend, and was thinking I couldn't possibly make it, but thanks to a lovely friend and helpful staff at the LG I'm going to, so things are much happier smile

Looking forward to the next stage of the Jesus thread!

Mad that is great news.

EllieArroway Thu 18-Apr-13 00:52:41

Aww. Hope DD had a wonderful time smile

madhairday Thu 18-Apr-13 12:51:05

We all did - it was brilliant! smile

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