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Topic: Jesus as a Mythic Hero Archtype--22 Points to Ponder

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T. -
Subject: Jesus as a Mythic Hero Archtype--22 Points to Ponder
Date Posted: 2/9/2009 5:36 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
Posts: 9,989
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http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa4.htm

After watching the documentaries The God Who Wasn't There, The Power of Myth, and reading some online things, I've learned something very interesting about Jesus.  Scholars who study mythology from all cultures and all time periods have developed something called a "mythic hero archtype."  These archtypes share very similar qualities and experiences, even though the exact details might be somewhat different.  There are 22 of these points--and Jesus fits all but 2 of them.  I know that there are many people who can't stand the thought that Jesus could be lumped in with the likes of Buddha and Oedipus, but facts speak volumes.  There is more evidence to support that Jesus is only a mythological figure whose life and stories were drawn upon from former stories and mythology.  Even the timelines to when each of the gospels were written and Jesus' life doesn't jive.  Interesting stuff.

The link above goes to one page that lines out the 22 points.  There are others that show how other mythological figures fit, as well, but I'll let you explore on your own.

Date Posted: 2/9/2009 7:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Oooh! We did this in my Mythology class.  Together we went through Jesus, Odysseus, Oedipus, Superman and Harry Potter.  Then as an assignment we each had to analyze a hero of our choice and see how their story fit the archetype.  Mine was Frodo.



Last Edited on: 2/9/09 7:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
T. -
Date Posted: 2/9/2009 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
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LOL, Vanessa, Frodo was indeed a saviour who was tested and tempted!  Sounds like an interesting class.  I would have loved it!

Date Posted: 2/9/2009 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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TG- have you ever seen an article about the other historical figures who fit the prophecy for being the messiah?  I can't remember where I saw it, but it listed the criteria (where & when the messiah was supposed to be born, what age he was supposed to die at etc) and apparently the Emperor Caligula and King Herod also fulfilled the criteria.  Weird.

Date Posted: 2/9/2009 11:52 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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Zoroaster/Zarathustra

--Zoroaster was born of a virgin and “immaculate conception by a ray of divine reason.”
--He was baptized in a river.
--In his youth he astounded wise men with his wisdom.
--He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil.
--He began his ministry at age 30.
--Zoroaster baptized with water, fire and “holy wind.”
--He cast out demons and restored the sight to a blind man.
--He taught about heaven and hell, and revealed mysteries, including resurrection, judgment, salvation and the apocalypse.
--He had a sacred cup or grail.
--He was slain.
--His religion had a eucharist.
--He was the “Word made flesh.”
--Zoroaster’s followers expected a “second coming” in the virgin-born Saoshynt or Savior, who is to come in 2341 CE and begin his ministry at age 30, ushering in a golden age.
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Sorry about all the above.  The computer went crazy when I was looking for similaries between Jesus and other gods.

  There is also great similarity between the god Mithras (originally in Persia and then a favorite with Roman soldiers).  Mithra or Mithras was born of a virgin in December and his birth was attended by shepherds.  He had 12 companions.  He performed miracles.   He was buried in a tomb and rose 3 days later.

Much of Christian beliefs are taken from earlier pagan religions.  There are other gods whose life resembled that of Christ.  So it is easy to believe that Jesus was actually a composite figure. 

The documentary The God Who Wasn't There is very good.  It was shown at a local arts theatre and the place was packed.  It gave me confidence that there are a lot more non-believers, agnostics, pagans out there than we think.

 

 



Last Edited on: 2/9/09 11:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
T. -
Date Posted: 2/10/2009 3:28 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
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That's great, Beverly!  I was looking for some comparisons--brilliant!

Date Posted: 2/10/2009 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
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When I was in high school (a Catholic school, no less), one of the religion classes I took was just about Jesus. We went over something similar to this in the class. It was very eye-opening, and I was surprised it was even discussed in a Catholic school in a class taught by a nun (and not in a oh, here is what some people have come up with, but theye are wrong, wrong, wrong).

I remember a few of my classmates being slighty horrified at the whole concept, but I found it fascinating.

Subject: Joseph Campbell? Hero with a thousand faces, anyone?
Date Posted: 2/15/2009 11:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
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I always find it interesting how some people come up with a "theory" about something that someone else has already shown to be true (many times) or come out with a book about "their" idea when books have been coming out on this topic for years.

The sources cited for Jesus as Hero  should include Joseph Campbell and Albert Pike.

Pike was one of the first in the US to even try to do comparative religion and draw lessons for understanding the commonly-held religious prejudices from myth of the past. His rituals for the Scottish Rite are in essence a college-level course in applied psychology and symbolism designed to wean those with even a half-way-decent ability to understand away from superstition and into a broader awareness of the universality of the underlying belief. He got much of the historical facts wrong (he did not have our modern knowledge to work with), but he did a phenomenal job of pulling together many different strains of pre-CE beliefs & practises and showing how they grew into Jewish and Christian practices and beliefs. He would not have seen Jesus as just another Hero, most likely, but he did lay the groundwork for a great number of Masons to start re-examining their faith by exposing them to a much wider awareness of history and comparative religion.

Campbell was a teacher of the modern age who wrote many books and gave many lectures. He was interviewed by Bill Moyers for PBS (that's the Public Broadcasting System, not paperbackswap) & those interviews probably exposed several thousands, if not millions, of people to Campbell and his work.

Anyone who uses the term Hero in relation to religion and does not cite at least Campbell among their sources is not aware of where the concepts came from, IMHO.

 

-- Tim Gatewood, Memphis TN

 

 

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
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bill Maher brings this up a couple of times in Religulous and people look at him like he is insane. THey had never heard of it. Then again, most people who are extremly religious, dont research other religions. One guy tells Bill Maher the other religions must have copied, and Bill tries to explain that those religions were around before Christianity.

T. -
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 2:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
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I'm expecting Religiouslous from Netflix today or tomorrow.  Can't wait to see it.   I know it is hard for people who have been indoctrinated with a particular religion their whole lives to accept that their saviour is based on other myths.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 12:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Im currently read Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions on a google page. Its killing my eyes to read it from the screen but it is fascinating. Its not just the myths surrounding Jesus that are paralleled in other older cultural legends. Its everything in the bible pretty much. From the creation and fall of man to the ressurection. What I found extremely interesting and hadnt noticed till it was pointed out to me in the book is that the bible contradicts itself in the creation myth in Genesis.

First god creates the hevans and the earth then the water and land, then plants, Sun moon and stars came next, then animals came next and the fowl came from the water, then came humans both male and female at the same time and he was given dominion over everything.

Then there is a second version of the story in the same book of the bible directly after the first. In this one the heavens and earth are first, then plants, then man was created from the dust and was allowed only in Eden and was warned about the tree of knowledge, then four rivers flowing from Eden, then the animals all from the earth not the sea, then woman is created from mans rib.

T. -
Date Posted: 4/7/2009 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
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Chris, since the plants need sunlight to live, in the first version, wouldn't it have been a huge folly to create them before the Sun?  LOL  Send me the link or post it here....I'm interested.

You might be interested in a little gem I found called The Skeptic's Annotated Bible. 

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 2:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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http://books.google.com/books?id=8rfYW79ZLy4C&pg=PA78&lpg=PA78&dq=parallels+to+jonah+and+whale+myth&source=bl&ots=6v_qE3tonC&sig=5nNab8QUoiMDYeucu7pweJoKlxg&hl=en&ei=eNSoSZvzNNKgtwf774TgDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA19,M1 Here you go. I reccomend downloading the PDF its easier to read that way. And no its not breaking copy right laws. The copy rights on this book have expired. It was written more than 100 years ago.

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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What's the Skeptics Annotated Bible?  Sounds intriguing.

Date Posted: 4/11/2009 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
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Thanks for posting the links. I was trying to find the comparisons for this guy at work who keeps trying to save me. 

Date Posted: 4/19/2009 12:57 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
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Very intertesing.  I'll have to check it out.  Thanks for sharing.

Date Posted: 11/1/2009 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2009
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Another interesting point to ponder is at the time when Jesus was prothelizing he was one of dozens.  One of the main reasons his words caught on is that he preached to the Gentiles, no the Jews.  Smart man.    I do beleive that Jesus was a real man.  Son of God?  Well that is a whole different debate.

erdoc -
Date Posted: 11/3/2009 12:36 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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Long ago...we used to put the manic/psychotic/delusional people who all thought they were Jesus/God in beds next to each other in the ER.  I mean...sure why not.  And it was lots of fun hearing them go at each other.  Of course, now with HIPAA etc (patient privacy) the rooms are a little more divided usually than a bunch of beds in a circle with broken curtains between them.