An Old-Theme Rehashed
Jesus and the Mystery Religions

Another book has recently come to my attention that tries to claim that Gospel accounts of Jesus were simply rehashed version of the stories of the gods of the mystery religions. It is entitled Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. The cover of the book shows on amulet depicting the dying god Orpheus on a cross/anchor. Does this prove that Jesus was a copycat savior?

The overall question of whether Jesus is a copycat savior from the mystery religions has been answered quite authoritatively and convincingly by Dr. Ronald Nash in his book Gospel and the Greeks: Did the New Testament Borrow from Pagan Thought? a book that I would highly recommend to anyone seriously considering this drivel. (I should add, that the idea that this is drivel is not my own. Here is a quote from Publisher's Weekly about the Jesus Mysteries book: "This is at once a wonderful and a terribly flawed book; at times it is absolutely on target, and yet it yields to such vitriol and inflated language that it will be easily dismissed. * * * In sum, this is a disappointing, sensationalist polemic." To my knowledge, Publisher's Weekly has no theological axe to grind.) As a preview, Nash's book establishes that while there is some similarity between the mystery religions and the Christian religion, such similarity exists because the mystery religions copied Christianity, not visa versa.

But what about that picture on the cover? Doesn't that prove that it Christianity is simply a spin-off of earlier mystery religions? Well, our member Bede has taken up that challenged and established that the amulet is more fluff than substance, here (see the entry for July 7, 2004).

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