Horus and Jesus: Practically Twins! (well, not really….)

As I wrote in my last post, there are many different sources that claim a multitude of similarities between the Egyptian sky god Horus and Jesus of Nazareth. Does closer scrutiny bear out these claims? The devil, as they say, is in the details…

horus

Jesus? Is that you?

The similarities claimed to exist include ” born on December 25th. His mother was a virgin. His birth was announced by an angel, attended by shepherds and heralded by a star. At 30 years of age he was baptized in a river, and the one who baptized him was later beheaded. He had 12 disciples, performed miracles, exorcized demons, raised someone from the dead, and even walked on water.” According to which site you visit, there may be even more similarities listed. As I discussed in my last post, many other mythological figures have been credited with some of these same similarities, including Mithras, Krishna, Attis, Dionysis, and many others.

Now, as discussed in the last article, if in fact these similarities were to be accurate, that obviously does not preclude the existence of the historical figure, Jesus of Nazareth. In addition, one would actually expect to find at least some similarities when dealing with supernatural deific beings. For instance, one would expect a god to be able to supersede and rule over nature (i.e. perform miracles). A god would be able to rule over death. A god would be mentally superior to men, and seem to be all-knowing. A god who lived among men would draw men (disciples) to him. So we see that these types of similarities, if they existed, would be expected.

On the birthday claim: Nowhere in the Bible is Jesus’s birth date mentioned. The date was chosen by emperor Aurelian in the third century. In fact many believe, because of evidences offered in the Bible surrounding the account of Jesus’s birth, that he was not born in the winter time, but that’s a different subject. The point is, a claim of being born on December 25th (or at the winter solstice) simply seems to be suspiciously convenient, especially once the claims are more closely scrutinized.

When one looks more closely, at books and web sites that are dedicated to scholarship and not tearing down the Christian faith, a different picture emerges. For instance, the “Tour Egypt” website:

We offer scholarly articles on historical as well as contemporary issues and we are always looking to renovate our services to live up to the expectations of our millions of visitors.

Their account of Horus seems to be very different from the ones presented at those other websites that seem to have an agenda. There is no mention of any of those similarities I mentioned above. Indeed, when you read the article offered at the “Tour Egypt” web site, you would be hard pressed to find many similarities at all between the falcon deity Horus and Jesus of Nazareth.

In an effort to avoid the accusation of cherry-picking web sites that “agree with my agenda”, I will list two more sites that are more scholarly in nature and “agendaless”:

Encyclopedia Mythica: Horus

Ancient Egypt Online: Horus

It seems an honest look at the evidence would lead the unbiased observer to admit that there are not really that many similarities between the Egyptian sky god Horus and Jesus of Nazareth after all. Now, I will be the first to admit that I have not personally tracked down every single claim made about the supposed similarities that exist between Jesus and these other mythological figures. However, I have seen enough evidence on the few I have bothered to check, and read work by others who have done the “heavy lifting” and really run these claims to the ground, that these similarity claims are, to put it in a southern vernacular, hogwash. It almost seems as if these things have been made up purely to discredit the four independent eyewitness testimonies about the life of Jesus of Nazareth contained in the Bible as a case of mythological plagiarism. Surely no one would purposely just make stuff up just to do that though…. would they?

I’d love to discuss these things with you. Any questions and comments that are in line with this page’s Commenting Policy will be published and responded to (to the best of my ability).

For more information on how I keep my worldview informed please go to Cross Roads Church.

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6 Comments

  1. I think C. S. Lewis somewhere offers another possible (though speculative) explanation for some similarities (being raised from the dead, for example): that God, though He has not created the other religions of the world in the sense in which He created Judaism and Christianity, may nevertheless have sent other peoples some “good dreams” that echo the One True Story to some extent.

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    • Hello again Chillingworth and thank you for taking time to read and comment on my article. If Lewis did indeed offer that hypothesis, then it is certainly speculative, although not necessarily untrue.

      I have another hypothesis which is just as speculative, if not more so. Because, as it says in Romans 1, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;” men have historically known there is and indeed must be a God, whether or no they knew about the true and living God. Also, since all men are most recently descended from Noah after the flood, they know by tradition some of the scope of God’s power. In the ancient times where men were inventing their false religions, these handed down stories would have been more prevalent, and they would invariably have woven in some of what was actually true along with their inventions.

      We know that there are worldwide accounts of a disastrous flood, and many of those stories have commonalities with the Genesis account. In my mind, the same paradigm would apply to the various mythologies of ancient times.

      I hope all this makes sense because I haven’t really tried to focus on this subject enough to solidify my thoughts coherently.

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  2. Odd, usually they compare Jesus to Osiris, not Horus. I’ve read/seen many of these Jesus compared to Dying/Rising Again God scenarios, they especially get trotted out at Christmas and Easter time by both atheists & pagans. A lot of goes back to James Frazer’s the Golden Bough, which compared various “savior gods”, often with a lot of stretching and pigeon-holing to fit his theories. Though some Pagans like to use it as a source, Frazer’s original purpose was to undermine Christianity by linking it to “primitive” fertility cults, but in the Victorian era in which he was writing, it wasn’t considered proper to be an overt atheist, so many people have interpreted him as promoting paganism. Likewise, there are similar ideas in Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” monomyth.

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    • Hello Caelesti and thank you for taking time to read and comment on my article. Whatever reason these so called comparisons get trotted out, no serious scholar or even layperson who has done a modicum of research has placed any credence in these fabrications for a long time (aside from a few with an acute bias). They just keep coming back around, just as Persephone does every spring when Hades lets her out for air =) It’s humorous on one hand, but very discouraging too, as some are too lazy to look into these things for themselves and so believe the lies.

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  3. It almost seems as if these things have been made up purely to discredit the four independent eyewitness testimonies about the life of Jesus of Nazareth contained in the Bible as a case of mythological plagiarism. >

    Although one can find a number of similar ”god – like” features ladled upon many historical figures, real or otherwise, there is ample evidence to suggest that the god-hood of the biblical character, Jesus of Nazareth, was bestowed upon him by the church. around or after Constantine and certainly by the time Theodosius declared Christianity the state religion and thus unleashed the church to pursue its goal of eradicating all or as much dissent as possible.

    Furthermore, the Virgin Birth nonsense found in gMatthew is quite plainly a mistranslation of the prophecy account found in Isaiah that had nothing to do with the character Jesus of Nazareth.

    Also, bearing in mind the number of verses gMatthew used from gMark ( at least 600) and ascribed as ‘his’ own, it is seriously stretching a point to consider these accounts independent let alone eyewitness testimonies which, as far as I am aware, no serious scholar considers to be the case.
    One would hardly credit any veracity to the resurrection of the saints during the Crucifixion for instance.
    And as this is plainly simple fantasy it then brings into question the reliability of the rest of the text, surely?
    Any witness, discredited by such a tale, would likely forever be viewed with a jaundiced eye.

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    • So, Arkenaten, if the case against Christianity is so strong and airtight as you have asserted, why would people feel the need to concoct these elaborate “copycat” hypotheses to refute the validity of the Biblical accounts? Shouldn’t they just rely on discrediting what you consider to be “plainly simple fantasy”?

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