The Egyptian god Horus was the sky god and the son of Isis and Osiris. Accorging to Egyptian mythology, his father was murdered by Seth who was his “perpetual antagonist” and was cut into 14 pieces which were scattered all over Egypt. Later Horus, who was raised by his mother in the swamps of the Nile Delta, when he grew to manhood took it upon himself to take revenge on Seth for the murder of his father and after killing him he bacame the king of the unified Egypt.
In ancient Egypt he was was often represented as a falcon and considered the prince of the gods, the patron of young men as well as the protector of the Pharaoh who was believed to be his avatar on earth while alive. Horus is also said to continue his battle with Seth on a daily basis to ensure the world’s safety.
After making claims that Buddha is basically a prototype of Jesus (which are refuted here) D.M. Murdock goes on to claim that there are similar parallels between Jesus and Horus which have been widely repeated by many “Jesus-Mythers” such as the filmakers of Zeitgeist as well as others. — Ms. Murdock’s claims are in bold while my answers are in regular font.
The first claim she makes is that,
Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger, with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
The idea that Horus’ mother was a virgin at the time of his birth is not found in Egyptian mythology. — What happened was that after Osiris was murdered an cut into pieces by Seth, the goddess Isis traveled though Egypt and was able to find his pieces she then impregnated herself with her husbands phallus (or penis) after which she conceived her son Horus.
The fact that she was Osiris’ wife argues against the idea that Isis was a virgin and undoubtedly their marriage would have been consummated. Also, even if that were not the case, the description of Horus’ conception is miraculous, but it is definitely sexual and therefore does not qualify as a virgin birth.
As for the claim of Horus being born in a manger or a cave, the Encyclopedia Mythica points out that after Isis impregnated herself on her husband’s dead body and conceived her son, she then “gave birth to Horus in the swamps of Khemnis in the Nile Delta,” showing that Ms. Murdock’s claim is completely false.
Not only is the date of December 25th of no importance to Christianity, it so happens that Horus was not even born on that date. His birth was on the second of the five “Epagomenal Days“ which actually corresponds from July 31st to August 24th.
There is no Egyptian reference confirming that Horus’ mother “Isis-Meri.” She is simply called Isis. — Also, there is no evidence that Horus’ birth was “announced by a star” or that three wise-men attended his birth. Besides in the gospel of Matthew the wise men are not numbered, so even if this were true about Horus it certainly would be irrelevant about Jesus.
He was a child teacher in the Temple and was baptized when he was 30 years old.
I cannot find any confirmation that Horus ever was depicted as a child teacher or that he was even baptized. For this claim in her footnotes Ms. Murdock does not cite any primary or credible source. She qoutes Massey and Mead who have no credibility.
Horus was also baptized by “Anup the Baptizer,” who becomes “John the Baptist.”
I have just mentioned that there is no evidence that Horus was ever baptized. — Besides this fact, “Anup” was just another name for god Anubis who was an embalmer, not a Baptizer like John the Baptist.
He had 12 disciples.
No he didn’t, at least, not as far as any evidence from Egyptian sources indicate. The Egyptologists apparantly have no knowledge of Horus having twelve disciples, so if anyone knows of any evidence that he did then they should contact them right away. — Ms. Murdock just simply throws out this allegation without giving any reference to support this claim in her footnotes.
He performed miracles and raised one man, El-Azar-us, from the dead.
Miracles are an expectation from most gods so even if Horus did perform any miraculous deeds this would not indicate any causation of Christian theology. Besides, I cannot find any reference to any figure named Al-Azar-us in Egyptian mythology.
He walked on water.
Again, there is no evidence of this from any Egyptian or Encyclopedic sources.
Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
No supporting evidence for this claim. Ms. Murdock cites no sources in her footnotes for this supposed claim, whether it be reliable or unreliable.
He was killed, buried in a tomb and resurrected.
The one reference that I could find that describes his death is seeminly unrelated to the Passion of Jesus. Horus was stung him to death by a scorpion. When Isis found him dead she is said to have become “distraught and frantic with grief, and was inconsolable.” – Thoth, who had helped her to revive her husband Osiris, heard her and came down to answer her. Isis was then supplied with incantations and then was able to revive her son. (See: “The Cippi of Horus“)
In short, even in this account, Horus’ death way to different from Jesus’ to insist that one account influenced the other. Besides Horus was not said to have been buried in a tomb.
He was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light, the Messiah, God’s Anointed Son, the Son of Man, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, the Word” etc.
Besides the fact that Ms. Murdock does not cite any sources for this claim the term “Messiah” as one of Horus’ titles is suspicious because it is rooted in Hebrew, not the Egyptian language. The title “God’s Anointed Son” is basically a translation of the Hebrew “Messiah” which means “The Annointed” so Ms. Murdock is using two titles for the price of one. — The title “Son of Man” is also suspect because Horus, unlike Jesus, didn’t have an earthly father.
He was “the Fisher,” and was associated with the Lamb, Lion and Fish (“Ichthys”).
Murdock’s source for this claim is Massey cited in a footnote. Massey himself does not even show his own sources and I have not been able to confirm these titles. There is also no Biblical passage with Jesus ever being called “the fisher” or “Lion and fish” so even if these titles were associated with Horus (which they are not) it would still be irrelevant to Christianity. — Besides, “Ichtys” is Greek, not Egyptian.
Horus’s personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of “Ptah,” the “Father.”
There is no evidence of these claims either. — Besides the fact that Jesus Christ is never spoken about as having a “personal epithet,” the term “Iusa” isn’t even a real word. Perhaps it is a mispronunciation of the Greek “Iesous” which is the Greek transliteration for Jesus’ own name. Considering that it is Greek, not Egyptian, this only makes this claim all the more suspect.
Horus (or Osiris) was called “the KRST,” long before the Christians duplicated the story.
Not only it “KRST” not an Egyptian title, the attempt to compare it to Jesus’ title as “the Christ” is only based on word games because “Christ” (or Kristos) is Greek which is not closely related (if at all) to the Egyptian language. Anyone who has studied a foreign language realizes that from time to time one finds words that are similar to those of their native languages which have completely different meanings. — In Greek, “the Christ” means “the anointed” while “KRST” is the Egyptian word for “burial.” (Text Link)
Before listing her main claims, Ms. Murdock claims that Osiris and Horus (father and son) were ever seen as interchangeable and then implies that Christians see Jesus and his Father in the same way. — Not only have I been unable to confirm that Egyptian mythology taught this, but also Ms. Murdock, by implying that this would be a relevant parallel to Jesus the Son and God the father, shows her ignorance and misunderstanding of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity which is that the one God is made up by three separate persons who are not interchangeable.
The bottom line is that the claims that Ms. Murdock advances to show parallels between Jesus and Horus are only rehashings of unreliable and easily refuted Bull-crap. So until any reliable evidence comes to light that can confirm these alleged parallels between Horus and Jesus, it has to be assumed that they do not exist.
A look at her footnotes shows that she does not cite one reliable reputable source. Her only sources are fellow “Jesus-Mythers” whose claims she uncritically repeats. — As I have pointed out in a previous post, it is unusual for someone like Murdock who claims to be a well trained expert of comparative religion and mythology to resort to such tactics to prove her point.
Between the years 563 to 483 BC, there was a man in India named Siddhārtha Gautama better known as the Buddha. He was a man who taught principles for peace, harmony as well as love. He was raised in luxury by his father Shuddodana who was determined to not allow his son to see anything unpleasant. This was to keep the fact that there was ugliness and suffering in the world away from him.
One day when Siddhārtha was twenty-nine, he asked his father if he could visit a neighboring city. His father decided to allow him, but also attempted to have the entire city cleaned before his son should arrive. This tactic worked at first, but Siddhārtha strayed away from the rout that his father was counting on him taking and then he saw four different men on which the “four signs” were based: One was old, one was ill, one was dead and the fourth was a beggar. And frm this he came to the realization that even he would grow old and die and he began wondering what was the point of life if one was going to die. From then on he renounced his life of ease to begin a life of begging on the streets.
— By the age of 35, he had supposedly gained great insight of the causes of pain and suffering and how to eliminate it and later he ban to teach. Among his teachings, he taught the “four noble truths” which claim that 1) all life is suffering, 2) that desire causes suffering, 3) one can overcome suffering, and 4) that is would be overcome by following the Eight Fold Path.
Several in the “Jesus Myth” crowd have attempted to tie the Buddha to Jesus Christ by mentioning several apparent similarities between the two. — D.M. Murdock, otherwise known as Acharya S, has been one of many of the mythers that do this. Following, her claims are placed in bold while my responses are in regular font.
Buddha was born of the virgin Maya, who was considered the “Queen of Heaven.”
It is certainly true that the birth of Siddhārtha Gautama was miraculous in itself, however the claim that his mother Maya was a virgin is unsubstantiated and isn’t found in Buddhist writings. The fact is that Buddhist tradition points out that Maya and her husband King Suddhodhana were already married for twenty years before their son was born which argues all out against Queen Maya’s virginity. Most certainly, their marraige would have been consumated long before Siddhārtha Gautama’s birth. (Text link)
If Ms. Murdock’s mention of Maya being the “Queen of Heaven” is an attempt to link her to the virgin Mary, then it should also be mentioned that the idea of such a title for Mary is purely Roman Catholic and has no Biblical basis. Protestant Christianity, which is more based on the Bible than Catholicism does not recognize Mary in any such way.
He was of royal descent.
This is true for both Jesus and Buddha, however it is also incidental with absolutely no relevance at all. Arguing that this is a relevant parallel is like saying that since Queen Elizabeth I of England and Nero, the Roman Emperor were both of royal descent that they are therefore connected. Such reasoning just doesn’t work.
He crushed a serpent’s head.
I cannot find any evidence that this was said about Buddha. Even if it was, it certainly is not said about Jesus in any of the four Gospels or (as far as I know) in the New Testament at all. — The crushing of the serpent’s head (which is considered a Messianic prophesy) actually comes from Genesis 3: 15 which was written is at least 1397 BC over 800 before the Buddha was born. This pretty much means that even if such a thing was ever said about Buddha the Hebrew Bible had the saying many centuries before Buddhism ever had existed and therefore Jesus being a Jew would not have had to imitate Buddhism for this one detail.
The fact of the matter is that “crushing a serpent’s head” is actually out of the Buddha’s character because he had resolved not to harm a single creature. As a matter of fact there is a story of him protecting a serpent. (The Story of Buddha, page 7)
Sakyamuni Buddha had 12 disciples.
This is most definitely not true. — At first the Buddha, after his renunciation, had five companions (The Story of Buddha, Pages 40 & 41). Later on, not counting the Buddha’s immediate family or royal patrons, he had a total of eleven male disciples, nine female disciples, and five lay disciples making a total of twenty-five, more than double. (Click here)
In her footnotes Ms. Murdock cites a Travel Guide page as proof of “the motif of Buddha and the 12.” The page she refers to mentions a large statue of Buddha accompanied by twelve smaller Buddhas. — The problem here is that this imagery comes from the Chinese Yuan Dynasty which is dated from the 13th and 14th centuries AD. So even if this was a reflection of Jesus’ twelve disciples, it’s from a period way too late to have affected Christianity. Buddhist tradition shows, however, that the Buddha had more than twelve followers.
Besides, her source suggests that this particular scene is the “Nirvana.” If this interpretation is correct then I must point out that Buddhist tradition says that the Buddha at the time was surrounded by 500 arachants who committed to memory his teachings. (The Story of Buddha, Page 93) If this is the case then the only reason that the Buddhist relief she refers to shows twelve men is because it is much easier than depicting 500.
He performed miracles and wonders, healed the sick, fed 500 men from a “small basket of cakes,” and walked on water.
It is true that the Buddha is associated with miracles. But this hardly proves anything because it goes without saying that miracle-workers are an expectation in any religion and therefore this alone does not imply any imitation on Jesus’ part.
Even though it is true that the Buddha did care for the sick, he used a much different method than Jesus who healed with a touch and even over long distances. Buddha would treat his patients with hot water and would bathe them. There were various patients that Buddha treated that didn’t regain their health and even died, which is not the case with Jesus. (Text Link)
I can’t find any Buddhist or Encyclopedic sources that show that Buddha fed 500 people with a “small basket of cakes.” Besides, it should be mentioned that Jesus didn’t use cakes, but rather five loaves of bread and two fish. — And as for the last claim of walking on water, this one is true. But it is also true that this parallel has its differences because the Buddha is said to have accomplished this by “levitating over a stream” to convert a non-believer to Buddhism. Jesus didn’t levitate, he just walked. And he didn’t do it to convert anyone. (Text Link)
He abolished idolatry, was a “sower of the word,” and preached “the establishment of a kingdom of righteousness.”
It would be a true statement to say that Buddha “asked his followers not to create images of him when he died,” though this doesn’t seem to be an actual command. But this really is not an issue because Buddhism is a “Non-Theistic” religion. (Click here) Buddhist do bow to Buddha which, at least from a Christian perspective, is defined as Idolatry. — It should be mentioned that Jesus did not “abolish Idolatry,” nor did he need to because it was already legally prohibited by Jewish law. (Exodus 20: 4)
As for the last two claims that Buddha was a “sower of the word” and preached “the establishment of the kingdom of righteousness” — I can find absolutely no reference to them.
He taught chastity, temperance, tolerance, compassion, love, and the equality of all.
Okay, and so did Gandhi, Seneca and many others. These are very common ideas, way too common to just assume that Jesus copied them from Buddha. Though these ideas are held in common between both Christianity and Buddhism, the truth is that there are differences between the two. The philosophical foundations of the two religions are actually quite different. (Text Link)
He was transfigured on a mount.
This is not true. He was transformed into the Buddha while he sat under a tree in a region in Northern India known as Bodhgaya. (Text Link) — I have been informed in an E-Mail correspondance by Eyal Aviv of George Washington University that this area is not even a mountain region.
Sakya Buddha was crucified in a sin-atonement, suffered for three days in hell, and was resurrected.
Again, this is completely false. Buddha did not die of crucifixion or even as a “sin-atonement.” He became ill and died at age eighty after eating a large meal of “soft pork” which, according to a diagnosis of his sickness, was too large for his digestive system. (Click here) Also, he was not raised from the dead, rather his body was cremated after death. (Source)
As for suffering in hell for three days in hell, this is not true of either Buddha or Jesus.
He ascended to Nirvana or “heaven.”
Here, Ms. Murdock is showing blatant ignorance of the concept of “Nirvana.” — Nirvana is not a place, and it certainly isn’t “heaven.” It is to live on earth in a state of enlightenment which ends the cursed cycle of reincarnation for a Buddhist. (Click here)
Buddha was considered the “Good Shepherd”, the “Carpenter”, the “Infinite and Everlasting.”
There is no evidence that Buddha was ever called the “good Shepherd or even the “Carpenter.” — It is true that one sect of Buddhism (Mahayana) contains the idea of an “everlasting Buddha.” But this is virtually a meaningless parallel between Jesus and Buddha considering the number of debunked parallel claims between the two made by Ms. Murdock.
He was called the “Savior of the World” and the “Light of the World.”
For once, there is truth to this. After Siddhārtha was born, a sage names Asita told his parents that if he renounced a life of luxury at the court he would indeed become the “savior of the world.” (Text Link) I cannot find a mention of Buddha being “the light of the world.” But even if it exists, it would not prove anyone did any copying.
After making these debunked claims, Ms. Murdock cites Dr. Christian Lindtner to further prove her point that Jesus was copied from Buddhism. — Even though Dr. Lindtner is recognized in the field, he is also a noted “Jesus-Myther.” Many of the claims Ms. Murdock quotes him as saying have already been debunked such as the alleged “crucifixion” of Buddha and the “twelve disciples,” so I’m not going into too much detail. The fact that he is willing to make such easily refuted claims shows blatant dishonesty on his part.
Interestingly, he lists the “last supper” as a parallel between Jesus and Buddha. Though it is true that they had a “last supper,” the details of the two are completely different. Buddha simply ate his meal, got sick and died. — In Jesus’ case, the event was used to declare that he would be betrayed, killed and resurrected. This is way too different to assume that one account influenced the other.
He then repeats the claim that Buddha was resurrected but he leaves out the fact that if this were true then that would mean he never attained “Nirvana,” the point of which was to prevent resurrection or reincarnation. But no dedicated Buddhist would accept this because this would mean that Buddha was not actually a Buddha. — Considering that he is recognized in this field and that his claims are so easily disproved, I unfortunately have to question his honesty.
As I was researching for this blog post, I e-mailed Ms. Murdock’s claims of Jesus-Buddha parallels to several professors of Buddhism and I received a response from Eyal Aviv, Assistant Professor of the Department of Religion at George Washington University who said,
Generally, the claims made in the website you read are historically so problematic that I can simply say that they are not true [ . . . ] I would recommend you to be cautious with Web sources and rely on authoritative scholars or religious writers from within the respective traditions you are interested in.
The truth is that even though there is what could be construed as evidence of Buddhist influence on Christianity, it is basically inconclusive. And just because there are certain similarities, this does not indicate beyond doubt that the similarities between them are a result of Buddhist influence on Christianity. (Text Link)
— So in conclusion, the claims that are made by Ms. Murdock (a.k.a., Acharya S) about parallels between Jesus and Buddha are mostly untrue. The claims that are true are so few in number and therefore can be assumed to be coincidence. Not to mention, in her list of parallels, she jumps to certain conclusions that lead her to misunderstand basic teachings of Buddhism. Considering the fact that Ms. Murdock claims to be an expert in comparative religion, this is pretty odd.
Recently I wrote a short refutation of AcharyaS’ defence of Zeitgeist. For anyone who would like a better refutation, I am posting a video refutation which was produced by the webmasters of Zeitgeist Challenge which goes into better detail that I do.
A major point in Zeitgeist the Movie is its claim that Christianity is no different from pagan religions. It then claims that several passages and Biblical stories had been plagiarized from ancient pagan mythology. — After the film makes the all time favorite claim that the Genesis account of the flood was copied from the Epic of Gilgamesh (which is refuted here), it goes on to make similar claims about the story of Moses,
There is the plagiarized story of Moses. Upon Moses’ birth, it is said that he was placed in a reed basket and set adrift in a river in order to avoid infanticide. He was later rescued by a daughter of royalty and raised by her as a Prince. This baby in a basket story was lifted directly from the myth of Sargon of Akkad of around 2250 b.c. Sargon was born, placed in a reed basket in order to avoid infanticide, and set adrift in a river. He was in turn rescued and raised by Akki, a royal mid-wife.
Zeitgeist makes the claim that the ancient king Sargon was placed in a basket to “avoid infanticide” and is later found by a royal mid-wife. The claim then becomes that since Sargon lived before Moses then therefore Moses must have plagiarized the story.
There is indeed a famous story of Sargon being left in a basket on the Euphrates river preserved in cuneiform tablets of Ancient Assyria. The cuneiform tablet says,
Sargon, mighty king, king of Agade, am I. My mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not; My father’s brothers live in the mountains; My city is Azupiranu, situated on the banks of the Euphrates My mother, the high priestess, conceived me, in secret she bore me; She placed me in a basket of rushes, she sealed the lid with bitumen; She cast me into the river which did not rise over me; The river bore me up and carried me to Aqqi, the water-drawer. Aqqi, the water-drawer, lifted me out as he dipped his bucket; Aqqi, the water-drawer, adopted me, brought me up; Aqqi, the water-drawer, set me up as his gardener. As a gardener, Ishtar, loved me; For 55 years I ruled as king.
The similarity to Moses is obvious to anyone who has read both the story of Moses and the legend of Sargon. But a carefull reading shows that the film, Zeitgeist, in its description of the similarities between the two stories is actually exagerated.
The claim that Sargon’s mother placed him in the basket and set him adrift to save him from infanticide is actually unsubstantiated. Nowhere in the inscription does it say that she did it to save him from anything or anyone. It just simply says she set him adrift. And the way that the tablet says “she [his mother] cast me into the river” kind of gives the impression that this is a case of child abandonment rather than to save his life.
James Holding in his essay gives background information of the importance of Sargon’s mother being a high priestess. He points out that in order to maintain her position she had to avoid pregnancy. This therefore would account for her giving birth in secrecy and would indicate that she was just disposing of her unwanted newborn child.
The fact that the story says she set him adrift also indicates she didn’t care whether or not he survived. This is a major difference between the two stories. — Contrary to what Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments shows, even though Moses was placed in a basket on the Nile river, he was not set adrift. Exodus 2: 3, 4 says that he was placed at the edge of the river among the reeds and his sister “stood” at a distance to watch him. The reeds would have kept the basket from drifting away. He was meant to survive which is not seemingly the case with Sargon.
The claim that Zeitgeist makes that Sargon was adopted by a royal mid-wife is also a mistake. The tablet says that 1) his rescuer was a “he.” And 2) he was a water drawer, not a royal mid-wife. These errors in the description of the story leads me to the conclusion that the film makers did not do independent research in this particular area.
There is one fact about the “Baby in a basket” story of Sargon that many skeptics either do not know, or just do not mention. The Historical website People and Places in the Ancient World (click here) points out,
The reputation of Sargon cast a long shadow. A scribe in 7th century Assyria left this account of Sargon’s origin, supposedly based on a first person account. [ . . . ] It is of course, impossible to know if this Moses like story circulated during Sargon’s lifetime but his humble origins are attested to by his lack of a name.
Also is should be mentioned that the Encyclopedia Britannica points out that what we know about Sargon of Akkad (who reigned from 2334 to 2279 BC) is all based on legends that were written after his lifetime.
— So the evidence is that 1) it looks as if it is impossible to date this particular story of King Sargon I and that 2) the earliest evidence we have of the story we have comes from as late as the seventh century BC. In contrast, the Book of Exodus was written between 1437 and 1397 BC. So plagiarism on the part of Moses is not necessarily what happened.
After Zeitgeist finishes its claims that Jesus and the Bible are based on astrology, it then makes the favorite argument that many skeptics and Jesus-Mythers make frequently: It accuses the Bible of plagiarizing from the Epic of Gilgamesh.
The story of Noah and Noah’s Ark is taken directly from tradition. The concept of a Great Flood is ubiquitous throughout the ancient world, with over 200 different cited claims in different periods and times. However, one need look no further for a pre-Christian source than the Epic of Gilgamesh, written in 2600 b.c. This story talks of a Great Flood commanded by God, an Ark with saved animals upon it, and even the release and return of a dove, all held in common with the biblical story, among many other similarities.
It is not my purpose to claim that the flood accounts in both the Book of Genesis and tablet eleven of the Epic of Gilgamesh aren’t similar because they are. With the undeniable similarities betwen Noah and Gilgamesh, there are at least three possibilities to draw up on: 1) The writter of Genesis copied Gilgamesh. 2) Gilgamesh copies Genesis. And 3) The two flood accounts describe the same event from different viewpoints and share a common source.
Needless to say, most Christ-Mythers will accept the first option without the slightest doubt. The second option is pretty unlikely because the Sumarian sources of the Gilgamesh account were written at about 1647 to 1626 BC while Genesis was written between 1437 to 1397 BC. — Personally I subscribe to the third option.
The similarities should not really come as a shock. Biblically, the area where the Gilgamesh tablets of the flood were found is where the first decendents of Noah came to live. It is not unlogical for the early Sumarians to have a very vivid memory of the flood. — But there are also some important differences that the film predictable does not mention while only emphasizing the similarities.
A major difference between the Genesis story and the Gilgamesh epic is that God decided to send a flood to destroy most of humanity because of continual evil. The Gilgamesh epic actually does not specify why the flood was sent other than to say that “the hearts of the Great Gods moved then to inflict the flood.”
A reason for the flood of Gilgamesh, however, can be found by looking at the older source for the Gilgamesh Epic. The tablets of the Gilgamesh epic are actually from the seventh century BC, but the story is older and most likely is taken from the older text from the mid-to-late 17th century BC called “The Epic of Atrahasis.” — Even though the section of the older tablet has been lost, it is known that the it said that humanity was too noisy so the gods decided to destroy all humanity in order to have some peace. — It can be established that the Gilgamesh Epic did source that of Atrahasis because in one line the hero of the Gilgamesh flood is called by Atrahasis’ name (apparently by an accidental slip).
The gods took an oath of secrecy uttered by Annu obviously to keep their plans a secret from everyone else. — Ea, the one god that didn’t wish for humanity to be destroyed, found a loophole from the oath by not warning the hero of the flood story directly, but by making it appear to him in a dream.
Another difference between the two accounts is that Noah is warned by God because he alone was righteous (Genesis 6: 7, 9). — As for Utanapishtim, the hero of the Gilgamesh flood, there is no indication that he was particularly righteous. As a matter of fact, it appears the god Ea encouraged him to lie to anyone asking him about his boat, though for understandable reasons,
I [Utanapishtim] understood and spoke to my lord, Ea:
‘My lord, thus is the command which you have uttered
I will heed and will do it.
But what shall I answer the city, the populace, and the
Ea spoke, commanding me, his servant:
‘You, well then, this is what you must say to them:
“It appears that Enlil is rejecting me
so I cannot reside in your city (?),
nor set foot on Enlil’s earth.
I will go down to the Apsu to live with my lord, Ea,
and upon you he will rain down abundance,
a profusion of fowl, myriad(!) fishes.
He will bring to you a harvest of wealth,
in the morning he will let loaves of bread shower down,
and in the evening a rain of wheat!”‘
Basically, Ea is telling Utanapishishtim to tell the elders (if they ask him what he’s up to) that the god Enlil will not bless them until he leaves the city of Shuruppak. He is told to lie, seemingly, because the flood is still a “secret of the gods,” besides it being a give-away to the other gods bent on the destruction of mankind that somebody was warned of what they planned on doing.
Even though Zeitgeist points out gleefully that both stories have the hero sending out a dove to support the idea that Genesis copied even the most minute detail, a carefull readingof bothflood accounts shows that Genesis actually comes out with the upper hand. — In Genesis 8: 8, 11, Noah sent the dove twice to see if it could find land because the earth was still covered, except for a couple of mountain peaks. The first time it could find none, but did on the second try.
However, the Gilgamesh Epic does not give a reason for Utanapishishtim to send out any birds. — It cannot be to find land like Noah because before he sent out the dove he himself already caught a good view of land himself,
I looked around for coastlines in the expanse of the sea,
and at twelve leagues there emerged a region (of land).
It should be emphasized that this was before the Gilgamesh epic says he sent the dove. So basically, there is really no point to Utanapishishtim sending out the dove, or any of the others (a swollow and a raven.) The truth is it just doesn’t fit in the story.
What happens to both heroes at the end of their stories is also very different despite the similarities in the sacrifices offered after the food. — According to Genesis, God blessed Noah and promised never again to wipe out mankind with a flood. According to the Gilgamesh epic, the god Enlil is angered when he finds out that there were human survivors of the flood. Ea finally admits to him that he warned the hero in advanced without breaking the oath of silence.
As for Utanapishishtim like Noah, it is actually a pretty mixed bag,
He [Enlil] touched our forehead and, standing between us, he
‘Previously Utanapishtimwas a human being.
But now let Utanapishtim and his wife become like us,
Let Utanapishtim reside far away, at the Mouth of the Rivers.’
They took us far away and settled us at the Mouth of the Rivers.”
“Now then, who will convene the gods on your behalf,
that you may find the life that you are seeking!
Wait! You must not lie down for six days and seven nights.”
soon as he sat down (with his head) between his legs
sleep, like a fog, blew upon him.
He and his wife are granted godhood. However they are also banished far awar so nobody can convene to the gods for their sakes and they are also sleep deprived for a week. The “blessing” is different from that of Noah, and I would actually call it a curse as well.
A very important difference are the structures of the two arks. The description of the ark as described in Genesis 6: 16, 17 was for it to be 300 cubits long (450 feet), 50 cubits wide (75 feet), 30 cubits high (45 feet) and a window a cubit high (of 18 inches).
When Ea tells Utanapishishtim about the dimensions of the boat that he must build, Ea says,
The boat which you are to build,
its dimensions must measure equal to each other:
its length must correspond to its width.
Roof it over like the Apsu.
So basically he is told to construct a cube shape whose walls were all 10 times 12 cubits high and wide with the top and bottom being of equal size, making it about fifteen times larger than Noah’s Ark. — Also Utanapishishtim’s ark is described as having six levels while Noah’s ark has three.
The shapes of the two arks may seem like only a minor difference among many similarities. But the fact is that this difference is very important because it comes down to how would these two different arks would fair under a cataclysmic flood.
In an analysis (Text Link) it turns out that Utanapishishtim’s ark would not be in so much danger in capsizing. This seems okay until one looks at what else would happen with it,
Looking more like on oversize buoy than any ship known to man, the Gilgamesh ark has the potential to survive waves from any direction. The big loser is seakeeping. Passengers will get no relief from the vigorous accelerations – roll, pitch, yaw, heave, surge and sway. In a gentle sea, these motions would be uncomfortable but when it gets rough these accelerations could be lethal [. . . ] Accelerations are high in hull #5 which means the passengers get knocked over or seasick. On the Gilgamesh ark they will be lucky to stay in one piece. A few waves would make the upper decks un-inhabitable. No solutions are apparent for ventilation and lighting.
Basically, the ark, as described in the Gilgamesh Epic would have been uninhabitable and the passengers would have gotten knocked all over the place and probably killed.
In contrast, according to a study done by Dr. Seon Won Hong (who holds a BS in Naval Architecture), Noah’s Ark would be capable of a lot more punishment and able to navigate with sea conditions with waves higher than 30 meters (or 98.43 feet) high. (Text Link)
Now what does this difference prove? — I say this actually refutes the popular idea that the writer of Genesis copied off the Gilgamesh epic. Had it been plagiarized, it is more than likely that the plagiarist would have also copied the poor dimensions of the ark of Utanapishishtim, or even would have given it even worse structure. It should be pointed out that the Hebrews were not known as skillful ship builders, or even as sailors for that matter.
Since Noah’s Ark is by far superior in structure and stability to the other this shows that, even though Genesis was written later, it has an important mark of authenticity that the Gilgamesh epic does not have. — This is why I subscribe to the idea that both flood accounts share a common source, instead of one copying the other.
On top of that fact, as I read the flood according to the Gilgamesh epic and the Genesis flood account were quite different in the literary sense — That is one does not show literary dependence on the other. This is not not consistent with the idea that Jewish scribes copied the Babylonian tablets. Glenn Miller of Christian Thinktank did a very detailed study on the literary differences between the Babylonian and Sumarian tablets of the flood accounts and the comparison with the Biblical account as well as other differences there are between then. If you are interested in reading it then click here to see it. — Also, the Associates for Biblical Research did a survey on the similarities and differences of the two flood accounts that can be found here and here.
Even though it is perfectly understandable for Zeitgeist, the Movie to make the over simplified claim that since the Gilgamesh epic was written down first that Noah must be a copy, this assumption does not take into account the superiority of the Genesis version found in certain detailes such as the sending of the dove and especially the superior stucture to Noah’s Ark itself to the Gilgamesh ark. Also, the fact that the two stories do not show literary dependence to eachother also helps to refute the charge of plagiarism.
In this blog I have been investigating the claims made by the film Zeitgeist that Jesus Christ is mearly an imitation of several other pagan gods that pre-date Christianity. However, so far I have investigated the first three of the five deities listed such as Horus, Attis, and Krishna and so far these claims have turned out to be bogus. This shows that the claim the film makes about wanting to be academically correct is just empty words.
Next up, the film then goes into a description of the Greek God, Dionysus. First, the film claims that Dionysus was born of a virgin on December 25th, performed miracles, was known as the “King of kings,” and the “Alpha and Omega.” And it also says he was resurrected after his death.
Dionysus was God of wine and the fertility of nature. He was also the son of the the greek god Zeus and the mortal woman Semele. — He was also said to be “twice born” because after his mother had been destroyed by Zeus’ thunder and lightning, Zeus rescued him from his mother’s ashes and sewed him into his thigh until the time had come for him to be born.
According the the Encyclopedia of Mythica,
Because Zeus slept with Semele secretly, Hera [Zeus’ wife] only found out about the affair after the girl was pregnant [with Dionysus]. (Brackets mine, Emphasise mine)
The bottom line: Semele was not a virgin when Dionysus was conceived, therefore showing yet more intellectual dishonesty on the part of the film makers. Also, I have found no evidence that December 25 is the date of Dionysus’ birth or that it had any importance to him. — Not that it matters because that date has no significance to Christianity.
As for miracles, I have found none. That’s not to say that there aren’t any cases. But even if there were it would not mattar because, as I have said before on another post, miracles are a given and are expected of any divine being.
There are those that attempt to tie Jesus’ miracle of turning water to wine to Dionysus because the latter was known as the god of wine to the Greeks. (John 2: 1, 11) However, as far as I can tell, Dionysus didn’t turn water into wine though he was a wine-maker. He was, however, the god that showed mortal man how to make wine among other things.
I cannot confirm or deny that Dionysus was called either “king of kings” or the “Alpha and the omega.” — Considering that Zeus, not Dionysus was the king of the gods, I imagine that Zeus would be more likely to have been called the former. (Text Link) However, I cannot even find that title of “king of kings” for Zeus either. But certainly if Dionysus had usurped such a title I would wonder why Zeus didn’t kill him off to protect his authority.
As for the death and resurrection of Dionysus (click here),
Hera had the newborn Dionysus killed by a couple of Titan assassins who tore him to bits, even though he kept trying to escape them by changing forms to hide from them. When he died a pomegranate tree began to grow where his blood had fallen. Disconcerted by this, the Titans decided to be on the safe side and boil the pieces of his body in a great cauldron.
Luckily he was resurrected by his grandmother (though in some accounts it was by his half sister, Athena) and was entrusted to the goddess Persephone for safekeeping.
So even though it is true that there is a death and resurrection, as usual the details are way to different for one to conclude that this had any influence on Christianity and the Passion of Christ. The Myth of Jesus, as proposed by Zeitgeist seems to be falling for the logical fallacy that since there is death and resurrection in both stories then therefore one had to have copied the other. However this is due to disregarding the vast differences between the two. — Dionysus was murdered when he was a newborn , his body was then dismembered and boiled — A very different story than that of Jesus.
The only other death and resurrection account is that “according to tradition, Dionysus died each winter and was reborn in the spring.” (Click here) From all this evidence it seems that all the claims that Jesus is a copycat of Dionysus is unfounded on the wishfull thinking of Athiests that are willing to go to any lenghths to prove that Christianity and the story of Jesus are not true. Unfortunately for them I actually check my facts.
The film Zeitgeist begins with list of pagan gods such Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus and Mithra. It goes through the list of details associated with Jesus Christ and then applies them to these pagan gods in order to create the impression that Christianity is only a copycat religion. However, viewers (whether believers or skeptics) should watch this film with the realization that there is an agenda behind it. — And I advise anyone reading this to do the same with what I am about to say as well.
So far, on the part of the film, claims of being academically are false, as seen in the case of the parallels between Horus and Jesus. — But it goes on to the next pagan deity, Attis, and makes similar claims about him saying,
Attis, of Phyrigia, born of the virgin Nana on December 25th, crucified, placed in a tomb and after 3 days, was resurrected.
Before going into detail, I want to emphesize that December 25th has no theological significance to Christianity. It is not mentioned in the Bible as Jesus’ birth date. The date was adopted in 350 AD by Bishop Julius I, too late a date to have any relevance to Christian origins.
The story of Attis begins when Agdistis, a hermaphroditic demon with male and female sex organs, gets castrated by gods that feared him. They disposed of his organ, and an almond tree grew where it landed. — Pausanias, the second century Greek writer, says:
There grew up from it an almond-tree with its fruit ripe, and a daughter of the river Sangarius [Nana, Attis’ mother], they say, took of the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy was born, and exposed, but was tended by a he-goat. As he grew up his beauty was more than human, and Agdistis fell in love with him. (Description of Greece 7, 17, 11)
After Attis’s birth, Nana’s father ordered the child exposed so that he would die, but fortunately he was saved by the goddess Cybele and was mothered by a she-goat. Attis grew to manhood and was so handsome in appearance that Agdistis and/or Cybele, the mother of the gods, fell in love with him.
When Attis was sent to marry the daughter of the king of Pessinos, Agdistis drove Attis insane to the point of castrating himself so that nobody else could have him. When Agdistis saw Attis’ dead body, he repented of driving him insane and made sure that his body didn’t decay. He was then reborn as an evergreen pine tree, as recounted by Strabo the historian. — In other versions, Cybele, who was jealous and refused to take Attis back, got sexually involved with women, and this drove Attis insane and he mutilated himself under a pine tree where he died. — Pausanias points out one tradition in which Attis is killed by a boar. (Description of Greece 7, 17, 10)
There is no indication that Nana, Attis’ mother, was a virgin when her son was born, though she could have been since there is no reason to believe she wasn’t. As for his death, he was either castrated, or his has gored by a wild bore. He was not crucified.
The claim that Attis was dead for three days and later resurrected seems to have its roots in the Magna Mater’s Spring Festival which lasted from the 15th of March until the 27th. — On the eighth say of the festival, a pine tree which symbolized Attis was cut down, and this was followed by three days of mourning. On the tenth day, he was burried, and then on the so-called Halaria, or the “Day of Joy” was on the eleventh day. This is cited as the resurrection day.
A.T. Fear, who contributed a chapter to the book entitled Attis and Related Cults and wrote about this very same festival, points out in the chapter entitled “Cybele and Christ“ does seem to confirm the claims that that Jesus may have been copied from Attis because of a similar claim that he was killed and resurrected after three days during a celebration that depicts his resurrection out of a tomb. (Page 39) — But there is a major problem. The ceremony that Dr. Fear describes is from a major festival of the metroac cult. But later he points out that this very cult had gone through changes which could have been “a deliberate attempt to rival Christianity” to ensure the cult’s survival in the market. (Page 44) — As a matter of fact, about the resurrection of Attis he says,
Attis too with his strong emphasis on resurrection seems to be a late-comer to the cult, the stress on the Halaria as celebrating the resurrection of Attis also appears to increase at the beginning of the Fourth century AD.: the same time as in the taurobolium towards the rite of personal redemption.
While these changes could simply be a mutation of religion over time, and it is important to remember that here we are discussing a period of centuries not merely years, they do seem to have been provoked by a need to respond to the challenge of Christianity. (Attis and Related Cults, pages 41, 42)
Dr. Fear does question whether the process of changing the Attis cult was conscious, but he never even implies that Jesus was influenced by Attis. He says that the Attis cult either mutated or that it responded to Christianity. He also dates the celebration of Attis’ “resurrection” to the fourth century AD!
To be fair, there is one possible earlier date for the apparent resurrection of Attis, but it is not much better for those that want Jesus to have been copied from Attis. — According to this other reconstruction, the three days of mourning were introduced during Emperor Claudius’ reign which was from 41 to 54 AD. Also, the apparent resurrection day was was introduced during the reign of Antoninus Pius, between 130 to 161 AD. The obvious problem with supposing that this was an inspiration for Christianity was that these aspects of the festival are post-Christian. So either way, both possible scenarios have it as too late to have affected Christianity.
So, my conclusion here is that Zeitgeist’s claims about Attis are only marginally better that those made about Horus. It cannot be said definitively that Attis was born of a virgin because it is not specified whether or not his mother was. His death in both versions of his life differ from the crucifixion of Jesus, and the three day death and resurrection of Attis are from the post-Christian era, not from before as would be expected if Christianity were influence by the Attis cult. — Academic correctness on Peter Joseph’s part (the producer of Zeitgeist) seems to be secondary to his anti-Christian agenda.
The History of Christmas from holidays.net
Description of Greece 7, 17, 11, Pausanias
CATULLUS. “ATTIS” (#63)
Attis — From AbsoluteAstronomy.com
Description of Greece 7, 17, 10. Pausanias
The Great Mother from Asia Minor to Rome. From Mythology.OurGardenPath.com
Attis and Related Cults, pages 39 to 42. — Attis and Christ, by A.T. Fear