Jesus: one of many myths?

Udo,

Jesus seems by no means unique. Have a look at these remarkable similarities: http://listverse.com/2009/04/13/10-christ-like-figures-who-pre-date-jesus/

What say you?

Smithy

 

Hello Smithy

Jamie Frater, who compiled the list you mentioned, seems to have been inspired by the internet documentary film, Zeitgeist, an exemplary addition to the genre of conspiracy theories. He also mentions Religulous, but how anybody can come to any reliable conclusions from watching this mockumentary’s portrayal of mostly religious extremists, is beyond me. Here is a good review: 11 Points Review of Religulous

Frater also mentions a few other books he found interesting: The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors: Christianity Before Christ by Kersey Graves, as well as The Christ Conspiracy and Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled by Acharya S. Before looking at the work of Acharya S (because this is what Zeitgeist is based on), consider the following warning about Kersey Graves (he lived in the 19th century) by one of the internet’s biggest atheistic websites: “ATTENTION: The scholarship of Kersey Graves has been questioned by numerous theists and non-theists alike; the inclusion of his The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors in the Secular Web’s Historical Library does not constitute endorsement by Internet Infidels, Inc. This document was included for historical purposes; readers should be extremely cautious in trusting anything in this book.” (see here and here.)

Just before Frater makes his list, he says the following: “As a non-christian, I am approaching this topic purely as an interested observer. I am assuming half of the people who read this will automatically say the claims are false and the other half will say they are true. The truth I found is that it is difficult to know for sure.” Now, one can only determine whether certain claims are false by carefully investigating it. It therefore simply undermines Frater’s claim to being just an “interested observer” when he says it’s difficult to know what is true. No “interested observer” who has any sense for objectivity and careful research could reproduce this list of so-called similarities.

This brings us to Acharya S and Zeitgeist.

The claimed similarities between Jesus and other ancient figures that are presented in Zeitgeist, is an exercise in factual inaccuracies and forced assumptions. Walter Burkert in evaluating the Ancient Mystery Cults writes:

‘Now it is true that some ancient Christian writers were struck by certain similarities between Christian worship and mysteries, and they denounced the latter as devilish counterfeits of the one true religion . . . and even orthodox Christianity adopted the mystery metaphor that had long been used in Platonic philosophy: to speak of the ‘mysteries’ of baptism and the Eucharist has remained common usage. Yet this does not imply that Greek mysteries by themselves should be seen as predestined to move towards Christianity. The constant use of Christianity as a reference system when dealing with the so-called mystery religions leads to distortions as well as partial clarification, obscuring the radical differences between the two.’

By far the most scholars in the field of ancient cultures and religions do not consider the “Jesus Myth” as just one of the many pagan myths. Such a notion is groundless nonsense and cheap propaganda. The mere fact that a list like Frater’s is still doing the rounds is intellectually inexcusable.

In what follows is a few references on this matter that you can investigate for yourself.

The internet movie Zeitgeist (Part 1 – see transcript) is mainly based on information from the book The Christ Conspiracy. Here is how Dr. Michael Licona, a New Testament scholar, evaluates the book (some alleged similarities between Buddha and Krishna also gets brief attention):

More evaluations of Acharya S’ two books:

The movie itself is discussed and thoroughly evaluated at the following places:

The idea of similarities between Jesus and specific pagan deities is also discussed at the following places:

See also the following movie reviews of Zeitgeist, all by non-Christians as far as I know and none claiming to be academic experts:

Other general discussions on Jesus and the pagan myths:

Also see the following:

To think that the Jesus story was simply a myth that borrowed elements from other myths and that he therefore did not exist in history, is itself a myth. But, of course, people are free to believe what they want and maybe they are successful in accepting the following challenge: The Zeitgeist Challenge

As Stephen Bedard (also see his discussion on the Jesus Myth Hypothesis) says: “The best way to respond to the Jesus myth theory is to read the actual myths. They are counting on people not going to the primary sources. Once you read the myths, you will see that the parallels are only apparent when they rewrite them with biblical language.” Bedard then lists the following primary sources:

Here are a few books that examine this question further:

Also see the following links that explore questions around the historical Jesus:

 

 

Kind regards

Udo

3 Comments

  1. Die menings en stellings oor die bestaan al dan nie van die Jesus-figuur asook die verwysings na ander godsdienste en hulle “jesusagtige” figure en helde, bestaan al vir enkele eeue – en die film Zeitgeist is waarskynlik (dit nie gesien nie) net herhaling en opdieping daarvan. Om nou die fiulm af te skiet as onwaar, is niksseggend – en weer eens oppervlakkige argumentering. Ek is jammer, maar ek kan Craig hoegenaamd nie aanvaar as gesaghebbend en ‘n kundige nie. Inteendeel!

    Weer eens gee jy talle verwysings na ander goed sonder om duidelike sieninge van jou eie te stel.

    Ek weet nie of die boek nog erens beskikbaar is nie, maar Marcello Craveri het in die 60s ‘n boek uitgegee wat in Engels onder die titel The Life of Jesus verskyn het.

    ‘n Kort uittreksel oor die boek uit Wiki: “Marcello Craveri (23 March 1914-18 February 2002) was an Italian biblical scholar. Born in Turin, he earned his doctorate in 1940 and then saw military service.

    His most widely read work probably is The Life of Jesus published in 1966, and in paperback English translation in 1967. On the biblical evidence, and the then-available evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Craveri concluded that the claims to divinity made by the historical Jesus were strictly limited and not unusual for a Jew of that generation. Much of the stronger claims, and the emphasis on the redeeming power of Christ’s death on the Cross, could be seen as reworkings by St. Paul, who was probably influenced strongly by the Graeco-Roman traditions.”

    Uit die boek self – wat ek steeds in my besit het – is dit duidelik dat Craveri toegang tot verskeie geskrifte in die Vatikaan gehad het.

    Hy lyk vir my na ‘n baie beter bron as die klompie duimsuigers wat jy aanhaal!

    TH
    Pretoria

  2. Ek dink dis goed dat lesers sal let op Thys Human se benadering tot wat hy hier gelees het:

    Thys weier om enige navorsing te doen as dit nie by voorbaat sy eie sienings ondersteun nie. Hy dink ek argumenteer oppervlakkig omdat ek verwysings gee na waar ander mense argumente gee vir waarom die Jesus-mite geen gronde het nie. Dan, sonder dat hy dit nodig ag om die verwysings na te slaan waarin hierdie argumente gegee word, voel hy hom nogtans geoorloof om te verwys na “die klompie duimsuigers”?

    Klink Thys vir enigiemand na die soort rasionele oopkop persoon waarmee ʼn mens sinvolle interaksie kan hê?

  3. Nee-wat, ek het lanklaas iemand so bevooroordeeld soos Thys gesien! Dis duidelik ‘n mors van tyd om eers te reageer op sy aantygings. Ek skat hy het elke keer sy antwoorde gereed nog voordat hy gekyk het na die bronne wat Udo so sorgvuldige deeurgee.

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