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?
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. 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:
- Zeitgeist – Part I: The Greatest Story Ever Told (For an introduction, see here) (By the way, the writer is not a Christian)
- Were Bible stories and characters stolen from pagan myths? (A very comprehensive series of articles that addresses several aspects)
- Analysis and Response to Zeitgeist (it includes a video by Mark Foreman discussing the movie. A short video can also be found here)
- Zeitgeist Refuted Final Cut (YouTube)
- The Zeitgeist of the ‘Zeitgeist Movie’ (Dr. Ben Witherington)
- All About Horus: An Egyptian Copy of Christ?
- Horus Manure: Debunking the Jesus/Horus Connection
- Ending the Myth of Horus (written by a self-proclaimed atheist)
- Zeitgeist the Movie and the Earliest Christians
- Jesus vs. Horus (video, 4 min)
- Jesus vs. Mithra (video, 4 min)
- Jesus vs. Krishna (video, 5 min)
- Jesus vs. Dionysus (video, 4 min)
- Dionysus and Jesus
Although the following references do not mention the movie Zeitgeist, it discusses the idea of similarities:
- Was Jesus Christ just a CopyCat Savior Myth? Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 as well as Part B
- Answering Brian Flemmings “The God Who wasn’t there” (The God Who wasn’t there is another documentary in the Jesus myth genre. Dr. Michael Licona specifically refers to the idea of similarities under the subheadings, Parallelmania! and Folklore & Urban Legend. By the way, here and here are more critical evaluations of The God Who wasn’t there)
- Refuting the myth that Jesus never existed
- False claims in the popular press
- Alleged similarities between Jesus & Pagan Deities
- Jesus and Pagan Mythology (Dr. William Lane Craig)
- What About Pre-Christ Resurrection Myths? (William Lane Craig)
- Here is an edited version of a discussion between Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi and Lee Strobel in Strobel’s The Case for the Real Jesus
- See the following book length treatment of the idea of “dying and rising gods”: Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising Gods” in the Ancient Near East
- Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions (Ronald Nash)
- Christianity and Paganism
See also the following movie reviews of Zeitgeist, all by non-Christians as far as I know and none claiming to be academic experts:
- Jay Kinney reviews Zeitgeist, the Movie
- Zeitgeist – the greatest lie ever told
- The Greatest Story Ever Garbled
Here are a few links to articles and books for anyone who is interested in examining the historical Jesus further for themselves:
- The Historical Jesus (select chapters by Dr. Gary Habermas)
- The Historicity of Jesus Christ: Did He Really Exist?
- The Historical Jesus
- Shattering the Christ Myth (see also the following video)
- Study Resources for the Historical Jesus
Finally, that the Jesus figure 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