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Horus Vs Jesus - Is It True?


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#1 The Drop

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 09:11 PM

Hopefully I put this in the right section....

For a while I thought that the similarities between Horus and Jesus were undeniable. Recently I saw this.
One of the claims have to be true, so, is Horus similar to Jesus or not?
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#2 Naiya

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 10:00 PM

It seems to be true, yep. The story of Horus predated the story of Jesus.

I found another website that also has the comparisons, but also has a good list of citations, so you can look up the specifics yourself. It isn't uncommon for religions to influence each other, just as it isn't uncommon today. For example, Sikhism is a mix of Islam and Buddhism. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Jews in ancient Egypt were influenced by religious stories around them.

Anyway, if this issue really bothers you, I suggest that you stop stop here. Keep digging until you can really say you've found the most credible sources that have given you the honest truth. You can find the Egyptian Book of the Dead on Sacred Texts for example. Nothing like going straight to the source. Good luck to you. :)
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#3 mwc

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 11:07 PM

Is Horus similar? Similar? Sort of. That's about it. I've read the stories. All of them I could get my hands on. The only thing I couldn't do was to read them in the original form (which I wish I could have). If you really, really, really, want to see Horus in jesus or vice-versa then you will. Read the stories in context and you'll see that Horus is a rather dynamic character unlike jesus.

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#4 nightflight

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 01:29 AM

You might like this site: http://www.pocm.info/
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#5 Antlerman

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 08:23 AM

This topic comes up in cycles. I read those links and discussions as well. This really comes back to the world recently through Acharya S making it popular again, citing Gerald Massey and other Eyptologists from over a hundred years ago. She basis this on 3rd hand information without citing actual sources directly, or any modern scholars who support this. In short its outdated and based on less the "cutting-edge" information. Richard Carrier, and atheist author who posts over at infidels.org has a discussion of this here: http://www.frontline...nscription.html

Here's a quote from his conclusion:


[quote name='http://www.frontline-apologetics.com/Luxor_Inscription.html']And yet the Christian narratives are, like most myths, very much original creations (that's why the two versions--in Matthew and Luke--are so radically different from each other). Understanding their background and cultural and historical context is certainly helpful, and necessary, but it doesn't lead to any plagiaristic scandal of the sort Acharya S wants there to be. She may still be right that what we are told is actually a myth about Jesus, not historical fact, but that is a conclusion that requires a lot more evidence than what we find at Luxor.[/quote]


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#6 shantonu

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 10:57 AM

This topic comes up in cycles. I read those links and discussions as well. This really comes back to the world recently through Acharya S making it popular again, citing Gerald Massey and other Eyptologists from over a hundred years ago. She basis this on 3rd hand information without citing actual sources directly, or any modern scholars who support this. In short its outdated and based on less the "cutting-edge" information. Richard Carrier, and atheist author who posts over at infidels.org has a discussion of this here: http://www.frontline...nscription.html

Here's a quote from his conclusion:


And yet the Christian narratives are, like most myths, very much original creations (that's why the two versions--in Matthew and Luke--are so radically different from each other). Understanding their background and cultural and historical context is certainly helpful, and necessary, but it doesn't lead to any plagiaristic scandal of the sort Acharya S wants there to be. She may still be right that what we are told is actually a myth about Jesus, not historical fact, but that is a conclusion that requires a lot more evidence than what we find at Luxor.


Thanks for the Richard Carrier quote. I think that about sums it up. I've always found laughable the so-called disproofs of Christianity on the basis of Christianity's similarity to other religions. I think arguments of this type suffer from what I call "the Dan Brown fallacy," because Dan Brown thinks that simply because two cultures use similar looking symbols, they must either mean the same thing by those symbols or the symbols were orignially connected. When a rapper give a "V" sign, he means by that sign "peace," when an Englishman does the same he means "fuck you." The "V" sign means two different things in two different cultures. And the signs do not share common origin. The Englishman's "V" sign purported stems from the battle fo Agincourt. The rapper's "V" sign is just an easier way to make the "peace" gesticulation.

Similarly, the fact that parts of the Horus myth and parts of the Jesus myth share similarities is no proof any connection whatsoever. Also mertiless is the suggestion that simply because we treat the Horus myth as myth we must therefore treat the Jesus story as myth on pain of logical inconsistency.

There are good reasons not to take all the details of the Jesus story literally. But those reasons are not contained in the Horus myth or, so to speak, anything else "we find at Luxor. I don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but that is because I know enough about the real world to know that such things do not happen, not because I perceive any connection between that legend and other ressurction myths such Norse myth of Baldur's ressurection.
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#7 nightflight

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 12:48 PM

I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.

Edited by nightflight, 27 January 2009 - 12:49 PM.

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#8 shantonu

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 01:38 PM

I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.


The American flag and the Puerto Rican flag are similar because there is an actual connection between the two countries. Feudalism in medieval Europe and feudalism in medieval Japan are similar even though there was no connection between the two areas.

The Puerto Rican "got their flag" from the Americans. Oda Nobunaga did not "get his feudalism" from Charlemagne.

Similarites by themselves prove nothing at all.
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#9 nightflight

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 01:44 PM

I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.


The American flag and the Puerto Rican flag are similar because there is an actual connection between the two countries. Feudalism in medieval Europe and feudalism in medieval Japan are similar even though there was no connection between the two areas.

The Puerto Rican "got their flag" from the Americans. Oda Nobunaga did not "get his feudalism" from Charlemagne.

Similarites by themselves prove nothing at all.



There were common motifs that many religions drew from. To call "copycat" is a straw man. To say there were several themes such as dying, resurrection, baptisms, virgin births, etc. that religions drew from is significant. Again, the early church fathers took is so seriously that they ascribed the pagan religions as deceptions of the devil. Tertullian said, "the devil by the mysteries of his idols imitates even the main part of the divine mysteries." . . . "He baptizes his worshippers in water and makes them believe that this purifies them from their crimes." . . . "Mithra sets his mark on the forehead of his soldiers; he celebrates the oblation of bread; he offers an image of the resurrection, and presents at once the crown and the sword; he limits his chief priest to a single marriage; he even has his virgins and ascetics."

edit: I want to add another point here. Most of Christianity accepts that humans have an "immortal soul". A few sects rightly reject this because it is not Biblical. The idea of an immortal soul owes more to Plato than to the Bible. Yet it is accepted without question by most Christians. Why is it so hard to believe that other themes also originated before and outside of Christianity? In fact, there are Christians who accept the parallels and use them to support Christianity. C.S. Lewis said, "We must not be nervous about 'parallels' and 'pagan christs': They ought to be there - it would be a stumbling block if they weren't. We must not, in false spirituality, withhold our imaginative welcome." (C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism, Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 1961, pp. And, "Now as myth transcends thought, Incarnation transcends myth. The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of a Dying God, without ceasing to be myth comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens-at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences...by becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle". (C.S. Lewis, God In The Dock, "Myth Became Fact")

Edited by nightflight, 27 January 2009 - 02:22 PM.

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#10 Antlerman

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 02:52 PM

I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.

This is a somewhat misunderstood reference which is used to support the Christianity copied pagan religions, that Justin Martyr was trying to explain away similarities. But what Justin was really saying was in defense of accusations against Christianity being a new, dangerous sect, and was not actually talking about comparing Christian and Pagan beliefs, but between the Pagan gods and the Hebrew scriptures.

He was trying to establish that Christianity was not some new sect, but had its roots way back in the Hebrew scriptures; and that what they saw in their gods was the fabrication of demons imitating what they had seen in prophecy regarding the coming Christ, but misunderstanding and falling short of it. His argument was that they should not dismiss Christianity as new and dangerous, but the actual fulfillment of what their gods were only cheap imitations of that the demons created from knowing scripture. "You say this about your gods, who you can see imitated the Hebrew Scriptures, but ours actually fulfilled it." That's the gist of his argument, not to explain away similarities, as is often cited. He was trying to persuade them by showing there were parallels that they weren't overtly catching. He went to lengths to point them out to them.

And again, as in how Richard Carrier points out, no-one is saying that pagan ideas may not have influenced certain Christian ideas, of course many ideas of culture all get blended into the myth-making processes. But it's lacks support to simply claim they are a case of wanton plagiarism. Citing Justin Martyr as red-faced to see these parallels and making excuses for them is not really supported by the text. Same sort of thing with the Luxor inscriptions.
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#11 Looking4Answers

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 03:14 PM

I will remind everyone here that the church fathers thought the similarities between Xianity and prior pagan faiths to be real, so much so that they said the thing was the devil's doing.


Here is the quote from Justin Martyr, in his First Apology:

And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know ho many sons your esteemed writers ascribe to Jupiter: Mercury ... Aesculapius ... Bacchus ... Hercules; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon. And what kind of deeds are recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter, it is needless to tell to those who already know ...[b]If we even affirm that he (Jesus) was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Perseus. And in that we say that he (Jesus) made whole the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have been done by Aesculapius."


Justin Martyr lived in the second century AD/CE and, as a result, is fairly close in time to the supposed events of the New Testament. And even he recognized, in his time, that the story of Jesus was nothing new, but very similar to stories being told of other gods and demi-gods in his day.
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#12 mwc

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 06:07 PM

He was trying to establish that Christianity was not some new sect, but had its roots way back in the Hebrew scriptures; and that what they saw in their gods was the fabrication of demons imitating what they had seen in prophecy regarding the coming Christ, but misunderstanding and falling short of it. His argument was that they should not dismiss Christianity as new and dangerous, but the actual fulfillment of what their gods were only cheap imitations of that the demons created from knowing scripture. "You say this about your gods, who you can see imitated the Hebrew Scriptures, but ours actually fulfilled it." That's the gist of his argument, not to explain away similarities, as is often cited. He was trying to persuade them by showing there were parallels that they weren't overtly catching. He went to lengths to point them out to them.

True enough. But let me just post this little (well, more than a little) bit from Dialogue with Trypho:

Chapter LXIX.—The devil, since he emulates the truth, has invented fables about Bacchus, Hercules, and Æsculapius.

“Be well assured, then, Trypho,” I continued, “that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah’s days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by [Jupiter’s] intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine. Or, “an ass.” The ass was sacred to Bacchus; and many fluctuate between οἶνον and ὄνον. into his mysteries, do I not perceive that [the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and travelled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, ‘strong as a giant to run his race,’ has been in like manner imitated? And when he [the devil] brings forward Æsculapius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ? But since I have not quoted to you such Scripture as tells that Christ will do these things, I must necessarily remind you of one such: from which you can understand, how that to those destitute of a knowledge of God, I mean the Gentiles, who, ‘having eyes, saw not, and having a heart, understood not,’ worshipping the images of wood, [how even to them] Scripture prophesied that they would renounce these [vanities], and hope in this Christ.

Clearly this wasn't written like the apologies. To convince anyone the religion wasn't dangerous. This is simply trying to establish that this new religion is really somehow old and that these others copied from it rather than the other way around. This is just a simple example and probably not even one of the best. I just happened to have old Justin open in another tab so we what we get. ;)

The point being here that in his attempts to show that xianity is so old and the one that is being copied it is showing his hand that he is fully aware of all the similarities and he needs to explain them away (at least to his satisfaction and the satisfaction of this fictional Jew Trypho). What I don't ever remember reading in any of these types of apologies and such was anyone discussing how any jesus was similar to Egyptian gods and with Egyptian temples in Rome and lots of xian activity in Egypt (Alexandria) they should have been familiar with Horus and especially Isis (whose iconography was later applied to Mary). But I can't think of a single example (not even to say 'what's his name wrote on that').

How those similarities got there is something entirely different. I tend to think it wasn't the demons as Justin does but he's fairly convinced so who knows?

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#13 The Drop

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 01:14 AM

Thanks for all the answers. They really helped.
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#14 nightflight

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 01:16 AM

Citing Justin Martyr as red-faced to see these parallels and making excuses for them is not really supported by the text. Same sort of thing with the Luxor inscriptions.


I cited Tetullian.
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#15 PiracyOfTheHead

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 01:59 AM

I think playing around with apologists and so on may prove to be futile.

Is there or is there not sufficient proof that much of Jesus' life is replica to that of Horus?

If I told a story, brand new in all its qualities with significant details, then 20 years later another story was told that mimicked numerous amounts of those significant details, there would be reason to suspect the stealing of ideas.

Can we look at the stories of Horus, Isis and Osiris et al and find that we have much of what is in the biblical narratives to already have existed and been taught in the cultures wherein the Hebrews traveled amongst and lived amongst, or even had access to?

Perhaps we should do our own investigative work ourselves instead of quoting one author who we say shows that other authors are invalid, who themselves did their own homework, according to who they fancied and on and on... thats picking favorites and choosing according to our bias and not true investigative research.

Take Christmas for example, the SuN appears to stop in its tracks on the 22, 23, and 24 of December, then makes its way, rising again in our perspective. Strange how the SoN is said to do the same thing, continue one way until stopping in procession, appearing motionless for 3 days and then rising again, that alone begs many questions.

Of course the True Believer™ would say that it is simply God's way of teaching the gospel in the stars....

So which came first, the Horus or the Egg?
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#16 MathGeek

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 06:48 AM

I am not an expert on this subject and the fact that both Christians and non-Christians can explain away the parallels between two religions shows me how similar ideas can crop up independently from each other.

Coming from a mathematical background, a couple of ideas that follow include the development of the Pythagorean Theorem in Greece and China (could have been disseminated via trade routes) and the knowledge of zero which seems to have cropped up in Mesopotamia, India and Central America.
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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:33 AM

I think playing around with apologists and so on may prove to be futile.

Is there or is there not sufficient proof that much of Jesus' life is replica to that of Horus?

If I told a story, brand new in all its qualities with significant details, then 20 years later another story was told that mimicked numerous amounts of those significant details, there would be reason to suspect the stealing of ideas.

Can we look at the stories of Horus, Isis and Osiris et al and find that we have much of what is in the biblical narratives to already have existed and been taught in the cultures wherein the Hebrews traveled amongst and lived amongst, or even had access to?

Perhaps we should do our own investigative work ourselves instead of quoting one author who we say shows that other authors are invalid, who themselves did their own homework, according to who they fancied and on and on... thats picking favorites and choosing according to our bias and not true investigative research.

Take Christmas for example, the SuN appears to stop in its tracks on the 22, 23, and 24 of December, then makes its way, rising again in our perspective. Strange how the SoN is said to do the same thing, continue one way until stopping in procession, appearing motionless for 3 days and then rising again, that alone begs many questions.

Of course the True Believer™ would say that it is simply God's way of teaching the gospel in the stars....

So which came first, the Horus or the Egg?


But Christmas is the nativity, not the resurrection story.
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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:36 AM

and the knowledge of zero which seems to have cropped up in Mesopotamia, India and Central America.


... and in an African Grey Parrot named Alex.


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#19 Antlerman

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 10:53 AM

The point being here that in his attempts to show that xianity is so old and the one that is being copied it is showing his hand that he is fully aware of all the similarities and he needs to explain them away (at least to his satisfaction and the satisfaction of this fictional Jew Trypho). What I don't ever remember reading in any of these types of apologies and such was anyone discussing how any jesus was similar to Egyptian gods and with Egyptian temples in Rome and lots of xian activity in Egypt (Alexandria) they should have been familiar with Horus and especially Isis (whose iconography was later applied to Mary). But I can't think of a single example (not even to say 'what's his name wrote on that').

Again, this is ascribing a motive to him that I don't see the text supporting. It seems easier to read this as him trying to find parallels and put them in front of the face of the readers in order to try to persuade them. It's not feeling embarrassed about it and trying to explain it away. He's actually stretching the stories to try to make it fit as a form of evangelism. He's creating the similarities. From Justin Martyr's First Apology XXI,


"And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter."


I see him stretching analogies to try to persuade them to see similarities where they weren't; not trying to excuse them away because he's embarrassed.

Yes there are loose parallels, just as there are between Jesus and Horus, or Thor, or whatever god you wish to find comparisons with. But his use of these loose parallels is really not much different than Acharya S's use of them: Justin's being to try to manufacture a connection to persuade them to become Christian, Acharya's to try to dissuade. But the problem is that with both of these sides of manufacturing parallels, it raises the question of how close a parallel has to be before it actually is a parallel?

The more generalized you make it to be, the less it really is because it can then be extended to include a great deal more than just the subject at hand. (Santa and Satan contain the same letters!, as an extreme example). That's the whole problem with what I've seen with citing these out-dated scholars like Gerald Massey and Kersey Graves. Not only are overly generalized, they either ignore or were unaware of many factors that reduce the significance of these "parallels".

A quote from the scholar Richard Carrier again, http://www.infidels....ier/graves.html

"Most scholars immediately recognize many of his findings as unsupported and dismiss Graves as useless... In general, even when the evidence is real, it often only appears many years after Christianity began, and thus might be evidence of diffusion in the other direction. Another typical problem is that Graves draws far too much from what often amounts to rather vague evidence."


and from the same article Carrier addresses Grave's approach and cites the passage you did above,

"Another example is something written by the first philosophical defender of Christianity, Justin Martyr, who wrote around 160 A.D. These passages show the sort of stories that even Christians acknowledged as predating their own, and you can see how Graves sometimes embellishes and goes a bit too far with this kind of evidence--and there is no better evidence before the 3rd century, when Christian ideas were already affecting pagan thought. However, you will see here that there is a small kernel of truth in what Graves argues, but since he rarely cites sources and engages in almost no critical examination of texts we can't tell when he is right or wrong and that makes him useless to scholars.

Justin wrote in his Dialogue of Justin and Trypho (the Jew) (69-70):

Be well assured, then, Trypho, that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah's days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that the devil has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and traveled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, 'strong as a giant to run his race,' has been in like manner imitated? And when the devil brings forward Asclepius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ? . . . And when those who record the mysteries of Mithras say that he was begotten of a rock, and call the place where those who believe in him are initiated a cave, do I not perceive here that the utterance of Daniel, that a stone without hands was cut out of a great mountain, has been imitated by them, and that they have attempted likewise to imitate the whole of Isaiah's words?


Although I have not exhaustively investigated this matter, I have confirmed only two real "resurrected" deities with some uncanny similarity to Jesus which are actually reported before Christian times, Zalmoxis and Inanna, neither of which is mentioned by Graves or John G. Jackson (another Gravesian author--though both mention Tammuz, for whom Inanna was mistaken in their day). This is apart from the obvious pre-Christian myths of Demeter, Dionysos, Persephone, Castor and Pollux, Isis and Osiris, and Cybele and Attis, which do indeed carry a theme of metaphorical resurrection, usually in the terms of a return or escape from the Underworld, explaining the shifting seasons. But these myths are not quite the same thing as a pre-Christian passion story. It only goes to show the pervasiveness in antiquity of an agricultural resurrection theme, and the Jesus story has more to it than that, although the cultural influence can certainly be acknowledged."


I'll come back to this later.
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#20 Looking4Answers

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 11:52 AM

One thing that has been of interest to me is the concept many of these ancient religions had of a "father" god that died and then came back as a "son" and this creates the "Madonna" figures we often see. We see this with Tammuz, Osiris and many others. While each story differs, there seem to be some commonalities between them. The Christian story differs in some significant ways, but it also seems to carry this same theme. The "father" god sends his "son" to die for the world, but in actuality the "father" and the "son" are one and the same god. The added concept of the Trinity makes this father/son story a bit unique, but the essence of the story seems to be pretty much the same as these other ancient versions.

An interesting book to read on the subject (from a Christian perspective) is "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hyslop. He stretches things, to be sure, but he does a decent job (in my opinion) of comparing ancient religions looking for these similarities. I think the book was written sometime in the late 1800's and the concept of the book is to try to show that the Catholic church is the "Babylon" and "whore" of the book of Revelation, but his research could easily be used to examine all of Christianities connections to virtually every other ancient pagan religion.
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