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Session 2 – The Stolen Jesus?. In this session we will look at the idea that the story of Jesus was made up by someone by compiling pre-existing legends.

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Session 2 – The Stolen Jesus?

In this session we will look at the idea that the story of Jesus was made up by someone by compiling pre-existing legends

We will not concentrate much on who they claim was making up the story, often times they say a group of people, we will instead focus on the myths they say we stole


A story to get us started

Once upon a time there were three little donkeys, who built houses out of paper, sticks, and bricks

Along came the big bad elephant to the first house, he blew it down. He then went to the second and blew that one down too, and he went to the third, and couldn’t (until he got help from another elephant)


What is this a copy of? The three little pigs

Even though I didn’t call them pigs, and it was an elephant not wolf, and I changed the ending, you still knew it was using that story

This is how some people today approach the story of Jesus, they claim it was based on pre-existing stories and legends (although they did add some unique stuff)


They claim that in mythology, there are many men who do things that Jesus does

Born of a Virgin

Suffers for others

Ascends into heaven

We do not have time to cover all the parallels people give, we will look at a few and general problems with them


Caesar Augustus

He was called a savior by his people

Well folks, that about all that lines up

between the two of them

I think we can name a few more things different between them, don’t you? This isn’t too popular among parallelists


Odysseus and Jesus

They were both carpenters

Both sailed in seas (Odysseus a little

more than Jesus, but Jesus did go out

on the Sea of Galilee

Both of these individuals face supernatural

foes during their lives

Both had last suppers before visiting Hades


Apollonius of Tyana

He lives during the first century, but

his account was not written down

until 170-245 A.D.

It was not written by eye-witnesses, it was by people who lived after the Bible was written

Our only historical source for this

individual is Philostatus


When we look at the Bible, we have

multiple sources for what happened

in the life-time of Jesus

Philostratus was commissions by the

Emperor to write a biography for the

Temple dedication to Apollonius

If anything, Philostratus would want to exaggerate the biography, and would steal

from the Christian religion


Was Jesus based on Dionysus?

They claim the idea of a Virgin birth came

from the myth of Dionysus, because he

was born of a Virgin

Understand, what we mean by virgin birth,

and what they mean by virgin birth, are

very different

Dionysus mother was killed, and he was

taken and sown into the thigh of Zeus


What about the Osiris myth

They claim that the story of Jesus’ baptism would have been take from Osiris and his baptism story which pre-dates Jesus

What actually happened in the Osiris story? After he had died, his coffin was thrown into the Nile…


They also claim that Osiris had a resurrection story and the Jesus myth could have stole that

Are the stories similar when looking at them? We all know the story of Jesus and his resurrection

In the Osiris myth, his dismembered body is pieced back together and he becomes the zombified lord of the underworld


And now for the most popular version of

the parallelism, Jesus and Mithra

They say Mithra had twelve disciples

Mithra and his twelve disciples had a last supper before his death

Mithra is supposed to be born December 25th

They claim all these things line up… obviously the Christians had to steal some of this?


Let’s look at these similarities in more detail

Mithras twelve disciples are actually the

twelve signs of the zodiac

This is different than the disciples of

Jesus who are real people from real

geographic places

They did eat together and had a meal, but

they never called that meal the last supper


Earliest Christians were not discussing December the 25th, in reality the date they first discussed was January 6th, and then they later discussed December 25th

We have records of Christians discussing

the December25th date before we have evidence of Mithra have that birthday

Many Christians today do think the Christians stole that date from Pagans, but it was discussed very early


There are even bigger problems

Mithraism didn’t come into Rome until

the 2nd Century, after the entire

Bible was written

There is no evidence the Christians had

any contact with Mithraism when they

were writing the Bible

Even if they did, the odds are Christianity influences Mithraism, not the other way


Watch how easy parallelism is to make up

Is parallelism is a trustworthy method, we can prove The Hobbit (Movie) was not

based off the book, but actually off the

movie Braveheart

It is easy to see that Peter Jackson was basing the dwarves off the Scotts in Braveheart


Both groups in the movies (dwarves & Wallace's) are being chased by the enemy

In both movies, the good guys are setting

out to recapture their homeland

Both the main characters' ride horses

Steven and Bard are both from outside

groups, but come and help those

conquering their homeland


In both movies they are using swords

as a primary weapon

Both the main characters‘ are captured by

the enemy at some point

Both groups fought against large enemies

Both groups are fighting a war and are abandoned by their friends in time of need


Smog and Long Shanks are similar, one hates the Scotts, and one hates the dwarves

Thorin and Wallace both lost their

fathers early on

The Grammatical Similarity

In the hobbit they have runes, in Braveheart they fight in the ruins of Scotland (and in Bravehart they moon their enemy, and in the Hobbit they are moon runes.)


Christianity was based off another religion,

and it was Judaism!

A bigger problem for this parallelism idea is prophecies of Jesus

Isa.7:14: Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

This far pre-dates Dionysus


He would be born of a virgin (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14)

To be announced by an Elijah-like herald (Isaiah 40:3-5, Malachi 3:1, 4:5)

He would proclaim a jubilee to the world (Isaiah 58:6, 61:1)

His ministry would be one of healing (Isaiah 53:4)

He would teach through parables (Isaiah 6:9-10, Psalms 78:2)

He would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:1-13, Psalms 41:9)

He would rise from the dead on the third day (Genesis 22:4, Psalms 16: 10-11, Hosea 6:2)


Almost everything that happened in the life

of Jesus was prophesied before any of

these myths were created

The idea of Jesus being a parallel of other religious and mythical figures and not actually existing falls apart when you look at it in more detail

There are other problems though denying

Jesus ever existed


We have quotes from people alive around

the time of Jesus who were not Christians

  • Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?) mentions Jesus - Antiquities, Book 18, ch. 3, par. 3.
    • Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles.  

Flavius Josephus: "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James,and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done."


Tacitus (A.D. c.55-A.D. c.117, Roman historian) - Annals 15.44

    • "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus…”

Lucian (circa 120-after 180) mentions Jesus. Greek writer and rhetorician.

  • "The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account

We have many sources outside the Christians who talk of Jesus as a

historical figure


In 2002, the Biblical Archaeological Society and the Discovery Channel announced in Washington, D.C. that an ancient inscription on a 2,000-year-old ossuary with the inscribed Aramaic words "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" was genuine. (dated A.D. 6-70)


The Bible is also allowed to be used

as a reference, it is a historical

document of that time

“Today, nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed and that the gospels contain plenty of valuable evidence which has to be weighed and assessed critically.” The late Graham Stanton, Cambridge University, in The Gospels and Jesus


Remember, the Bible is not just one source and one piece of evidence for the existence of Jesus, it is a compilation of evidence

Paul, James, Peter, Luke, Mark, Matthew, John, and Jude are all different authors who report of the historical Jesus

We will end with some quotes from

experts on this topic of history


Non-Christian Bart Erhman said the

following about this topic:

“Few of these mythicists are actually scholars trained in ancient history, religion, biblical studies or any cognate field, let alone in the ancient languages generally thought to matter for those who want to say something with any degree of authority about a Jewish teacher who (allegedly) lived in first-century Palestine…


There are a couple of exceptions: of the hundreds — thousands? — of mythicists, two (to my knowledge) actually have Ph.D. credentials in relevant fields of study. But even taking these into account, there is not a single mythicist who teaches New Testament or Early Christianity or even Classics at any accredited institution of higher learning

in the Western world. And it is no

wonder why.”


“Some judgments are so probable as to be certain; for example, Jesus really existed, and he really was crucified, just as Julius Caesar really existed and was assassinated. .... We can in fact know as much about Jesus as we can about any figure in the ancient world.”

Marcus Borg, Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University, in The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions


“we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. ..... In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.” The late Michael Grant, eminent historian of the Roman Empire, in Jesus: an historian's review of the gospels


Memory Verse

Isa.7:14: Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.