The Jesus Mysteries

The Jesus Mysteries

Was the `original Jesus' A Pagan God?

Book - 2003
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Publisher: London : Element, 2003, c1999
Branch Call Number: 232.9 F867j
Characteristics: 423 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 18 cm
Additional Contributors: Gandy, Peter

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IncendiaAngelus
Apr 01, 2014

I would give this no stars if I could. Don't believe the blurbs on the cover - this book is NOT well-researched or insightful by any means. Maybe these ideas would've had some ground 100 years ago (which, by the way, is when a fair number of their sources were written). These writers don't take newer research into consideration, show a complete lack of knowledge about Judaism and Jewish history, twist and misrepresent sources in order to support their point, and show a very clear bias in favour of Gnostic mysticism.

An easy, quick example is their assertion that we celebrate Easter on March 25 because this is when Attis, a Roman god, was resurrected. But anyone who has taken the time to research any of this should easily find that Jesus died on the 14th of the Jewish month Nisan, which most scholars put as roughly April 7 or 8 by our calendar. Plus, the Jews had a lunar calendar, so the date changes every month. Also, no matter how hard they try to connect it to Attis, the fact that Jesus' death happened during Passover has a very significant and distinctly Jewish meaning and context that they pretty much completely ignore. Lastly, if you look up the actual story of Attis, it is significantly different from that of Jesus.

True, the idea of a deity dying & being resurrected was common in the ancient world, but the specifics of these stories and their history and significance to the people living at the time can't be overlooked, not while you're trying to put forward an unbiased, scholarly, intelligent argument. That said, this book is none of those things, so I suppose one shouldn't be too surprised when it comes up short on facts and long on biased, misrepresented, sensationalist drivel.

crankylibrarian Sep 30, 2011

Most non fundamentalist Christians accept that aspects of the traditional gospel narratives were likely drawn from the myths of other cultures. Gandy and Freke's premise is radically different: that the "historic" Jesus may not have existed at all, but is a complete amalgam of Osiris, Dionysus,etc filtered through a 1st century Jewish mystery tradition.Like other mystery religions, what we now read as the "true" gospel story may never have been intended to be read literally, but served as an "outer" mystery for new initiates. Only later was this reinterpreted as fact, forming the literalist Christian narrative. Provocative, well-argued and thoroughly documented, a worthy read for Christians and non-Christians alike.

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