Was Christianity Copied from Pagan Myths?

By James M. Rochford

Many skeptics today claim that the resurrection of Jesus originated from pagan myths about “dying and rising” gods—commonly called the “copycat theory” of Christianity. James G. Frazer popularized this view in his book The Golden Bough (1914),[1] though more recently, others have followed in his footsteps.[2]

Atheistic documentaries like Brian Flemming’s The God Who Wasn’t There (2005), Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist (2007), and Bill Maher’s Religulous (2008) all have purported the view that the early Christians borrowed the concept of the resurrection from pagan myths about “dying and rising gods” (e.g. Dionysus, Mithra, Baal, Adonis, Attis, Demeter, Persephone, Aphrodite, Isis, Osiris). To see their case for yourself, see Zeitgeist and begin at 5 minutes into the film.

Did Christianity copy its core doctrines from Pagan myths? What should we think of this common skeptical claim?

Criticized by fellow skeptics

Picture1Dr. Mettinger (a Swedish professor at Lund University) has written the most comprehensive account of the dying and rising god motif. He himself affirms the concept of “dying and rising gods.”[3] Yet he concedes that he is in the strict minority: “There is now what amounts to a scholarly consensus against the appropriateness of the concept [of dying and rising gods]. Those who still think differently are looked upon as residual members of an almost extinct species… Major scholars in the fields of comparative religion and the Bible find the idea of dying and rising deities suspect or untenable.”[4] For instance, Jonathan Z. Smith (historian from the University of Chicago) writes, “All the deities that have been identified as belonging to the class of dying and rising deities can be subsumed under the two larger classes of disappearing deities or dying deities. In the first case, the deities return but have not died; in the second case, the gods die but do not return.”[5]

Skeptic Matt Dillahunty (of Atheist Experience) writes, “The first third of the film (Zeitgeist) is an unscholarly, sophomoric, horribly flawed, over-simplification that tries to portray Christianity as nothing more than the next incarnation of the astrologically themed religions that preceded it. Like all conspiracy theories, they combine a few facts, focus on correlations and build an intriguing story that seems to fit the pieces together nicely—provided you don’t actually dig below the surface to find out where they might have gone wrong.”

Regarding the Cross and Atonement, atheistic critical scholar Bart Ehrman writes, “Where do any of the ancient sources speak of a divine man who was crucified as an atonement for sin? So far as I know, there are no parallels to the central Christian claim. What has been invented here is not the Christian Jesus but the mythicist claims about Jesus… The majority of scholars agree… there is no unambiguous evidence that any pagans prior to Christianity believed in dying and rising gods.”[6] He adds, “None of this literature is written by scholars trained in the New Testament.”[7]

No causal influence

Even if there were parallels between paganism and Christianity were true (which they are not), the skeptic would need to show that these myths had an influence on Christianity in some way. Yet Christian philosopher Mark Foreman writes, “There is no evidence of pagan mystery religions existing in Palestine in the first century… Judaism was an extremely exclusive monotheistic religion and would not have tolerated the syncretism of the mystery religions. Christianity was even more exclusivistic and has often been referred to as the ‘anti-mystery’ religion.”[8] Likewise, atheistic critic Bart Ehrman writes, “Anyone who thinks that Jesus was modeled on such deities needs to cite some evidence—any evidence at all—that Jews in Palestine at the alleged time of Jesus’s life were influenced by anyone who held such views.”[9]

abelincolnForeman offers a thought-experiment of living 2,000 years in the future. A handful of documents exist to attest to the American presidents JFK and Abraham Lincoln. Someone points to the parallels between the two.[10] David E. Anderson gives several parallels:

  1. Both Lincoln and Kennedy were elected to Congress in ‘46 (1846 in Lincoln’s case, 1946 in Kennedy’s). Both became President in ‘60.
  2. Both had lazy eye muscles which would cause one eye to wander.
  3. Both had been skippers on boats (Lincoln on the Mississippi river boat ‘Talisman’ and Kennedy on the PT-109)
  4. Both were the second sons in their families. Each lost a sister to death before becoming President. Both married 24-year-old brunettes who had been previously engaged to other men, and who spoke French fluently.
  5. Both had a child die while living in the White House.
  6. Both were related to U.S. Senators, U.S. Attorney Generals who graduated from Harvard, and ambassadors to the Court of St. James.
  7. Both were acquaintances of a man named Adlai E. Stevenson who ran for either Vice-President or President, a doctor named Charles Taft and a man named William Graham.
  8. Both were advised not to go to the place where they died.
  9. Both Lincoln’s theater box and Kennedy’s car were altered for their benefit (Lincoln’s theater box had a partition removed to accomodate his party, Kennedy’s car had a raised rear seat)
  10. Both were slain on a Friday before a major Holiday (Lincoln on the Friday before Easter, Kennedy on the Friday before Thanksgiving). Both were shot while sitting next to their wives and in the presence of another couple. Of the other couple, the man was also wounded by the assassin, but neither wife was wounded.
  11. Both were shot from behind and in the head. Both of their wives cradled their husband’s heads after they were shot.
  12. John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln from inside a theater, and fled to a warehouse. Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from inside a warehouse and fled to a theater.
  13. Lincoln was shot while inside the Ford theater, in box 7. Kennedy was shot while inside a Ford automobile, in car 7 in the motorcade.
  14. Both were pronounced dead in places with the initials P.H. (Lincoln in the Peterson House, and Kennedy in Parkland Hospital)
  15. Both of their assassins escaped, and were killed before going to trial.
  16. Both of their assassins were privates in the military. Each was detained after the shooting by a policeman named Baker. Both were eventually killed by a Colt revolver.
  17. Both Lincoln and Kennedy were succeeded by southern ex-senators named Johnson who were born in ‘08. Both Johnsons were in their mid-fifties when they took the office and both suffered from urethral stones (the only presidents to have them). Both Johnsons could have run for re-election in ‘68, but chose not to.

Do these parallels invalidate the existence of John F. Kennedy? Of course not! In order to argue this, we would need to show that one caused or influenced the other. In the same way, even if Christian parallels existed with pagan mythology, the skeptic would need to show how these caused the Christian beliefs.

The pagan worldview despised the concept of resurrection

Neo-Platonism largely influenced Pagan thinking about the resurrection of the body. In the neo-Platonic worldview, the material world was considered evil and repugnant, while the immaterial world was considered pure and enlightened. When someone died, their immaterial and pure soul escaped from the prison of the body on a one-way street to the afterlife. Neo-Platonists were offended by the notion of a physical resurrection, because this meant that the evil and disgusting body would be reanimated after death. Nothing could be more offensive to a Pagan thinker.

The Greeks considered the message of the gospel “foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:23). (The Greek term is morian is the root from which we get our term “moronic.”) Likewise, in Paul’s speech at Mars Hill, the Greek thinkers respectfully listened to Paul’s case for Christianity until he came to the evidence for the resurrection. Then we read, “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer” (Acts 17:32). Historian N.T. Wright explains, “This same sort of denial of bodily resurrection is also there in Homer, Plato, and Pliny, and it is there consistently through a thousand years of paganism, up to and through the time of Jesus.”[11]

Where did this “copycat” interpretation originate?

The History of Religions School (German Religionsgeschichtliche Schule) was a collection of German theologians from the University of Göttingen in the 1890s. This school of thought sought to interpret Jesus through the lens of paganism, rather than Judaism. For instance, Richard Reitzenstein (one of the major proponent of this school) published this subject in his 1910 book Hellenistic Mystery Religions. Instead of understanding Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, these scholars interpreted him as pagan.

Yet the NT explains that Jesus:

  • was the ancestor of David and Abraham (Mt. 1:1), from the tribe of Judah (Heb. 7:14), and circumcised on the “eighth day” (Lk. 1:59).
  • had a regular “custom” of going to synagogue (Lk. 4:16), and taught in the Jewish Temple (Lk. 21:37).
  • found celebrating Hanukkah (Jn. 10:22) and Passover (Jn. 2:13).
  • was called a “rabbi” by his disciples (Jn. 4:31), Nicodemus (Jn. 3:2), Mary (Jn. 20:16), and the crowds (Jn. 6:25).
  • was called “the King of the Jews” (Mt. 2:2; 27:11), said “salvation is from the Jews” (Jn. 4:22), and was quickly recognized as Jewish by the woman at the well (Jn. 4:9).
  • spoke to Paul “in Hebrew” (Acts 26:14)—even though Paul understood Greek (Acts 21:37).
  • believed in the entirety of the Hebrew law (Mt. 5:17).

How could these scholars ever conclude that Jesus was pagan, rather than Jewish? How could they misunderstand such a clear interpretive grid like this? Of course, we would be naïve to think that the rampant anti-Semitism in Germany had nothing to do with this entire school of thought! Sadly, skeptics today have bought into this same exact method of interpretation.

Differences between Christ’s resurrection and pagan resurrection

When we do find apparent cases of “dying and rising” gods in Pagan mythology, these always mimic the seasons of the spring and fall harvest. The Pagan cults would perform plays each year to bring in the spring harvest and yearly cycle of the seasons. These were not based in history, nor did they deal with physical resurrection. Mettinger (of Lund University) writes, “The gods that die and rise have close ties to the seasonal cycle of plant life.”[12] Wright explains,

Did any worshipper in these cults… think that actual human beings, having died, actually came back to life? Of course not. These multifarious and sophisticated cults enacted the god’s death and resurrection as a metaphor, whose concrete referent was the cycle of seed-time and harvest, of human reproduction and fertility.[13]

Even James Frazer (the popularizer of this “copycat” view) writes, “Under the names of Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, and Attis, the peoples of Egypt and Western Asia represented the yearly decay and revival of life, especially of vegetable life, which they personified as a god who annually died and rose again from the dead.”[14] There is a big difference between a person dying and coming back to life and the gods “dying” in the fall and “resurrecting” in the spring each year. These weren’t literal reports of corpses coming back to life; they were metaphors for the yearly crop cycle.

Mettinger gives three key differences between the Christian view of resurrection and the pagan myths:

(1) “The figures we have studied are deities. In the case of Jesus, we are confronted with a human (for whom divinity was claimed by himself and by his followers).”[15]

(2) “The dying and rising gods were closely related to the seasonal cycle. Their death and return were seen as reflected in the changes of plant life. Their death and return were seen as reflected in the changes of plant life. The death and resurrection of Jesus is a one-time event, not repeated, and unrelated to seasonal changes.”[16]

(3) “The death of Jesus is presented in the sources as vicarious suffering, as an act of atonement for sins… There is no evidence for the death of the dying and rising gods as vicarious suffering for sins.”[17]

Mettinger concludes his book: “There is, as far as I am aware, no prima facie evidence that the death and resurrection of Jesus is a mythological construct, drawing on myths and rites of the dying and rising gods of the surrounding world. While studied with profit against the background of Jewish resurrection belief, the faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus retains its unique character in the history of religions. The riddle remains.”[18]

What about Justin Martyr?

Picture3Atheistic websites often quote Justin Martyr (a second century Christian apologist) as comparing Jesus’ death and resurrection with Pagan gods that predate him. Martyr wrote, “And when we say also that [Jesus]… was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Zeus.”[19]

This passage from Justin Martyr appears to claim that Pagans believed in Christian doctrines like resurrection. However, if you read the context of Martyr’s 21st chapter, you will see that he was actually comparing the fact that the Pagan gods had sons with the Christian God having a son. Martyr couldn’t be comparing the fact that Zeus died and rose from the dead, because Zeus never died! In fact, later in chapter 55, Martyr points out that none of these gods were crucified like Jesus. In chapters 22 through 29, he argues for the superiority of Jesus over these myths. Martyr believed that there were some similarities between Christianity and Paganism, but he thought that these could be accounted for by demons misinterpreting Old Testament prophecy regarding Jesus. Of course, these speculations were flat wrong, but at least we have seen that his writing doesn’t support antecedent beliefs in Pagan resurrection.

Poor pagan parallels

Let’s consider several of the proposed examples of “copycat” doctrines from pagan mythology.

Horus

horusHe was the patron god of Egypt, and the son of Isis and Osiris.

Horus was not crucified. He died by a snake poisoning him in the Delta Swamps, causing his death.[20] In some accounts, he is merely poisoned, but not dead.[21]

Horus did not have 12 disciples. Edward Winston (of the Skeptic Project) writes, “Horus did not have 12 disciples, rather he had four semi-divine disciples… One can also find reference to an unnumbered group of followers called the Mesniu (blacksmiths) who accompanied Horus into some of his battles, but no where can 12 of anything be found.”

Horus was not born of a virgin. His mother (Isis) and father (Osiris) were married. Isis copulated with Osiris’ dead body to produce Horus. In Plutarch’s later account (2nd century AD), we read that Isis and Osiris had a prenatal incestuous relationship: “Isis and Osiris were enamoured of each other and consorted together in the darkness of the womb before their birth. Some say that Arueris came from this union and was called the elder Horus by the Egyptians, but Apollo by the Greeks.”[22]

Attis

attisHe was a Greek deity, who was worshipped as the god of vegetation.

He was not born of a virgin. Foreman writes, “Attis is conceived when Zeus spilled his seed on the side of the mountain which eventually became a pomegranate tree.”[23] Winston (of the Skeptic Project) writes, “Attis was not necessarily born of a virgin (because it does not say whether or not his mother is a virgin), in fact Attis was born of Nana after she ate the fruit of an almond tree which had been grown from the blood of either Agdistis or Cybele.”

Attis was not resurrected. Richmond Hathorn (professor Classics at the University of Kentucky) writes, “Attis’ blood became violets, and he himself turned into a pine-tree.”[24] Walter Burket (a professor of classics at the University of Zurich) writes, “The evidence of resurrection is… practically nonexistent in the case of Attis.”[25] Winston (of the Skeptic Project) writes, “Attis was worshipped as the god of vegetation, responsible for death and rebirth of plant life. It was thought that each winter he died and in the spring he was reborn. Each spring his resurrection would be celebrated.”

Attis was not crucified. Jan Bremmer (associate professor at the University of Utrecht) writes, “Attis cut off [his] sexual organs.”[26] Thus Attis died by castration—not crucifixion. Other traditions claim he was “killed by a boar.”[27]

Adonis

adonisHe comes from Greek mythology, thought to be incredibly beautiful and the favorite of the goddess Aphrodite.

Adonis was not crucified. He was gored by a wild boar.[28]

Adonis was not born of a virgin. Instead, his mother Myrrha slept with her father twelve times. The gods turned her into the “myrrh-tree.” In The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology, Robin Hard writes, “After the usual time of gestation for a human child, the bark of the tree broke open and Adonis was brought to birth.”[29]

Adonis was not resurrected. Walter Burket (a professor of classics at the University of Zurich) writes, “The evidence of resurrection is late and tenuous in the case of Adonis.”[30] Sappho (7th century BC) wrote a poem about Adonis, containing his death, but not his resurrection.[31] Lucian of Samosata (2nd century AD) writes,

They assert that the legend about Adonis and the wild boar is true, and that the facts occurred in their country, and in memory of this calamity they beat their breasts and wail every year, and perform their secret ritual amid signs of mourning through the whole countryside. When they have finished their mourning and wailing, they sacrifice in the first place to Adonis, as to one who has departed this life: after this they allege that he is alive again, and exhibit his effigy to the sky. They proceed to shave their heads, too, like the Egyptians on the loss of their Apis.[32]

Lucian goes on to say that “a human head comes every year from Egypt to Byblos, floating on its seven days’ journey.” He also notes that the River Adonis is stained with blood “every year” to commemorate Adonis’ death once again.[33] Theocritus (a 3rd century AD poet) explains that Adonis is revived once a year at the turn of the seasons. As you can see, Adonis’ “resurrected” coincided with the seasonal cycles—not resurrection from the dead in the biblical sense.

Krishna

krishnaHe is one of the most venerated Hindu deities, thought to be the eighth avatar of Vishnu.

Krishna’s birth was not signaled by a star from the East. Edward Winston (of the Skeptic Project) writes, “There is no mention of a star in the east signaling his birth in the literature, [and] was not resurrected upon his death.”

Krishna’s name is not similar to “Christ.” While Krishna and Christ may sound phonetically similar, their names mean entirely different things. Krishna means, “Dark one” while Christ means, “Anointed One.” In our language they have similar transliterations, but these were completely different to the native speakers.

Krishna was not born of a virgin. Foreman writes, “Devaki, the mother of Krishna, had seven children before Krishna.”[34] Edward Winston (of the Skeptic Project) writes, “Krishna was of the royal family of Mathura, and was the eighth son born to the princess Devaki, and her husband Vasudeva.”

Krishna was not crucified. The Encyclopedia Britannica states, “As the god sat in the forest lamenting, a huntsman, mistaking him for a deer, shot him in his one vulnerable spot, the heel, killing him.” The Mahabharata reads, “A fierce hunter of the name of Jara then came there, desirous of deer. The hunter, mistaking [Krishna], who was stretched on the earth in high Yoga, for a deer, pierced him at the heel with a shaft and quickly came to that spot for capturing his prey. Coming up, Jara beheld a man dressed in yellow robes, rapt in Yoga and endued with many arms. Regarding himself an offender, and filled with fear, he touched the feet of [Krishna]. The high-souled one comforted him and then ascended upwards, filling the entire welkin with splendor.”[35]

Dionysus

dionysusThis Greek god is also called Bacchus, the son of Zeus and Semele, who was worshipped as the god of wine and ecstasy.

Dionysus was not crucified. Some skeptics claim that Dionysus was crucified because of an amulet that was found, depicting his crucifixion. There are at least two problems with this view: (1) The image of this amulet is a drawing—not an actual photograph. The drawing used is itself a drawing of a previous drawing. The amulet itself was said to be lost during WW II. Robert Eisler (a critical scholar) has the drawing in his book Orpheus—the Fisher. He writes that A. Becker reproduced the drawing from plaster impressions of the Hematite seal-cylinder, which itself was an artistic rendition of the original amulet. (2) The amulet dates several centuries after Jesus of Nazareth. Eisler writes, “The ring-stone, which certainly belonged to an Orphic initiate, who had turned Christian without giving up completely his old religious beliefs, is attributed to the 3rd or the 4th century A.D. It cannot be much earlier in any case considering the late introduction of the crucifixus type into Christian art.”[36]

Picture2Dionysus was not born of a virgin. Ovid—the first century AD Roman poet—writes, “The infant Bacchus, still unfinished, is torn from the mother’s womb, and (if it can be believed) is sewn into his father’s thigh to complete his full term.”[37]

Dionysus was not born of an ordinary human woman. Semele (Dionysus’ mother) was Poseidon’s great-granddaughter, who was the great god of the sea.

Dionysus turned water into wine, but the earliest source is after Christ. The earliest primary source is Achilles Tatius, “The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon” which dates to the second century AD.

Dionysus was not resurrected. Dionysus was dismembered, eaten, and then sewn into the thigh of Zeus, where he was reborn from Zeus thigh. The comparison here doesn’t at all seem to square with the story of Jesus, and the similarities are vaguely connected at best. Edward Winston (of the Skeptic Project) writes, “Dionysus died each winter and was resurrected in the spring.”

Mithras

mithrasHe was an ancient Indo-Iranian god of light. The belief in Mithras lasted until the fourth century AD with the Roman emperors Commodus, Julian, and Diocletian.

Mithraism is incredibly difficult to study. Mary Jo Sharp writes, “There are no substantive accounts of Mithras’s story, but rather a pieced-together story from inscriptions, depictions, and surviving Mithraea (man-made caverns of worship).”[38] Much of this “mystery religion” is only known from sculptures.

Mithras did not die for human sin. Instead, in the Roman system of Mithras, he sacrificed a bull. No theological significance is given to this act. Manfred Clauss writes, “We possess virtually no theological statements either by Mithraists themselves or by other writers.”[39] In his book on the subject Hellenistic Mystery Religions (1978), Richard Reitzenstein held that the sacrificing of the bull was similar to the Christian view of the atonement. Yet Christian scholar Edwin Yamauchi writes, “He thought the sacrifice of Christ aligned itself with the killing of a bull by Mithras. Carsten Colpe and others severely criticized the anachronistic use of sources by these scholars.”[40]

Mithras was not born of a virgin. Maarten Jozef Vermaseren (an expert in Mithraic studies at the University of Utrecht) writes, “Neither in the Western world did the authors conceive Mithras as a child procreated from a father or born from a woman or even from a virgin. Both classical literature and inscriptions declare that the god was born from a rock or a stone.”[41]

Mithras did not have 12 disciples. Edward Winston (of the Skeptic Project) writes, “There is absolutely no evidence anywhere that he had 12 disciples or 12 of anything for that matter—no Mithraist scholars seem to know about it.”

Mithras was not resurrected. Edward Winston (of the Skeptic Project) writes, “There is no evidence of a resurrection or that Mithra has ever died. Roman Mithraic evidence dates to at least a century after the time of the New Testament.” Even critical scholar Bart Ehrman writes, “We do not have Mithraic texts that explain it all to us, let alone texts that indicate that Mithras was born of a virgin on December 25 and that he died to atone for sins only to be raised on a Sunday.”[42]

Osiris

osirisHe was one of the most important deities of ancient Egypt. He was the god of fertility and the dead. The earliest full account of Osiris comes from Plutarch (“Concerning Isis and Osiris”), which dates to the second century AD. In the account, Osiris’ brother (Set) buries him a sarcophagus, drowning in the Nile River. Set dismembers Osiris’ dead body “into anything from fourteen to forty-two parts.”[43] He goes on to rule in the kingdom of the dead.[44]

Osiris was not resurrected. As argued above, he lived after death in the Egyptian Netherworld—not on Earth. Walter Burket (a professor of classics at the University of Zurich) writes, “Not even Osiris returns to life, but instead attains transcendent life beyond death.”[45]

Conclusion

Some skeptics spout that Christianity was copied from paganism. Yet when we survey the evidence, we discover that this is surely not the case. This conspiracy theory is (1) highly criticized by other atheists and skeptics of Christianity; (2) not supported by primary documents from paganism; (3) offers no causal explanation for the disciples’ beliefs about the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth; (4) doesn’t fit with the neo-Platonic rejection of resurrection; and (5) is based on an anti-Semitic interpretive school that has been dead for the last century in NT studies.

The notion that Christianity copied from pagan myths turns out to be a myth itself.

Further Reading

Foreman, Mark. “Chapter 11: Challenging the Zeitgeist Movie: Parallelomania on Steroids.” Copan, Paul, and William Lane. Craig. Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2012.

Mettinger, Tryggve N.D. The Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising God’s” in the Ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2001.

Nash, Ronald H. The Gospel and the Greeks: Did the New Testament Borrow from Pagan Thought? Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2003.

Sharp, Mary Jo. “Chapter 10: Does the Story of Jesus Mimic Pagan Mystery Stories?” Copan, Paul, and William Lane. Craig. Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2012.

Smith, Jonathan Z. Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity (1990), University of Chicago Press. 1994.

Strobel, Lee. The Case for the Real Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2007. Chapter 4: “Christianity’s Beliefs About Jesus Were Copied from Pagan Religions.”

Winston, Edward. “Zeitgeist—Part 1: The Greatest Story Ever Told.” Skeptic Project. November 29, 2007. Their “About” page states: “Skeptic Project (The Website formally known as Conspiracy Science) is an online community of skeptics, freethinkers, and others which aims to look into extraordinary and bizarre claims made by individuals in the conspiracy, paranormal, alternative health, and pseudo-scientific communities.”

[1] Frazer, James. The Golden Bough. 3rd Edition. Volume 4:1. London. 1914.

[2] See Freke, Timothy, and Peter Gandy. The Jesus Mysteries: Was the “original Jesus” a Pagan God? New York: Harmony, 2000. Harpur, Tom. The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light. New York: Walker, 2005.

[3] Mettinger, Tryggve N.D. The Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising God’s” in the Ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2001. 217.

[4] Mettinger, Tryggve N.D. The Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising God’s” in the Ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2001. 7, 17.

[5] Jonathan Z. Smith. “Dying and Rising Gods.” Eliade, Mircea, and Charles J. Adams. The Encyclopedia of Religion. Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan, 1987. 522.

[6] Ehrman, Bart D. Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. New York: HarperOne, 2012. 214, 230.

[7] Ehrman, Bart D. Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. New York: HarperOne, 2012. 2.

[8] Mark Foreman. “Chapter 11: Challenging the Zeitgeist Movie: Parallelomania on Steroids.” Copan, Paul, and William Lane. Craig. Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2012. 175.

[9] Ehrman, Bart D. Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. New York: HarperOne, 2012. 230.

[10] Mark Foreman. “Chapter 11: Challenging the Zeitgeist Movie: Parallelomania on Steroids.” Copan, Paul, and William Lane. Craig. Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2012. 184-185.

[11] Evans, Craig A., N. T. Wright, and Troy A. Miller. Jesus, the Final Days: What Really Happened. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2009. 77.

[12] Mettinger, Tryggve N.D. The Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising God’s” in the Ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2001. 219.

[13] Wright, N. T. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2003. 80.

[14] Frazer, James. The Golden Bough. 3rd Edition. Volume 4:1. London. 1914. 6.

[15] Mettinger, Tryggve N.D. The Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising God’s” in the Ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2001. 221.

[16] Mettinger, Tryggve N.D. The Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising God’s” in the Ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2001. 221.

[17] Mettinger, Tryggve N.D. The Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising God’s” in the Ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2001. 221.

[18] Mettinger, Tryggve N.D. The Riddle of Resurrection: “Dying and Rising God’s” in the Ancient Near East. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2001. 221.

[19] Justin Martyr First Apology (21:30).

[20] Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004. 80.

[21] Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004. 81.

[22] Plutarch, Osiris and Isis.

[23] Mark Foreman. “Chapter 11: Challenging the Zeitgeist Movie: Parallelomania on Steroids.” Copan, Paul, and William Lane. Craig. Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2012. 178.

[24] Hathorn, Richmond Y. Greek Mythology. Beirut: American U of Beirut, 1977. 213.

[25] Burkert, Walter. Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual. Berkeley: U of California, 1979.

[26] Bremmer, Jan N. Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible, and the Ancient Near East. Leiden: Brill, 2008. 278.

[27] Burkert, Walter. Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual. Berkeley: U of California, 1979. 104.

[28] Burkert, Walter. Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual. Berkeley: U of California, 1979. 110.

[29] Hard, Robin, and H. J. Rose. The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology: Based on H.J. Rose’s “Handbook of Greek Mythology.” London: Routledge, 2004. 198.

[30] Burkert, Walter. Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual. Berkeley: U of California, 1979.

[31] Apollodorus, The Library, Book III.

[32] Lucian, The Syrian Goddess. Translated by Herbert A. Strong and John Garstang. 1913. 45-46.

[33] Lucian, The Syrian Goddess. Translated by Herbert A. Strong and John Garstang. 1913. 47-48.

[34] Mark Foreman. “Chapter 11: Challenging the Zeitgeist Movie: Parallelomania on Steroids.” Copan, Paul, and William Lane. Craig. Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2012. 178.

[35] Mahabharata, Book 16, Section 4.

[36] Eisler, Robert. Orpheus—The Fisher: Comparative Studies in Orphic and Early Christian Cult Symbolism. London, Women’s Printing Society. 1921. Plate XXXI. 54.

[37] Metamorphoses, book III, 273-315. “Semele is consumed by Jupiter’s fire.”

[38] Mary Jo Sharp. “Chapter 10: Does the Story of Jesus Mimic Pagan Mystery Stories?” Copan, Paul, and William Lane. Craig. Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. Nashville, TN: B & H Academic, 2012. 157.

[39] Clauss, Manfred. The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries. New York: Routledge, 2000. xxi.

[40] Strobel, Lee. The Case for the Real Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2007. 166.

[41] Vermaseren, Maarten Jozef. Studia Archaeologica Gerardo Van Hoorn Oblata. (Studia Van Hoorn). Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1951. 93-94.

[42] Ehrman, Bart D. Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. New York: HarperOne, 2012. 213.

[43] Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004. 179.

[44] Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004. 179.

[45] Burkert, Walter. Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual. Berkeley: U of California, 1979.