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The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?

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“Whether you conclude that this book is the most alarming heresy of the millennium or the mother of all revelations, The Jesus Mysteries deserves to be read.”
— Fort Worth Star -Telegram

What if . . .
* there were absolutely no evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus?
* for thousands of years ...
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2000 Hard cover American ed. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 352 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

“Whether you conclude that this book is the most alarming heresy of the millennium or the mother of all revelations, The Jesus Mysteries deserves to be read.”
— Fort Worth Star -Telegram

What if . . .
* there were absolutely no evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus?
* for thousands of years Pagans had also followed a Son of God?
* this Pagan savior was also born of a virgin on the twenty-fifth of December before three shepherds, turned water into wine at a wedding, died and was resurrected, and offered his body and blood as a Holy Communion?
* these Pagan myths had been rewritten as the gospel of Jesus Christ?
* the earliest Gnostic Christians knew that the Jesus story was a myth?
* Christianity turned out to be a continuation of Paganism by another name?
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is at once a wonderful and a terribly flawed book; at times it is absolutely on target, and yet it yields to such vitriol and inflated language that it will be easily dismissed. The authors postulate that Christianity as we know it, regardless of the teachings of its founder, ultimately distilled and usurped the greatest wisdom inherent in pagan traditions. Specifically, they charge that Christianity looted the traditions of the Osiris/Dionysus cults--borrowing, synthesizing and domesticating what was most sacred to Greco-Roman civilization. Freke and Gandy assert that Christian history is "nothing less than the greatest cover-up of all time. Christianity's original Gnostic doctrines and its true origins in the Pagan Mysteries had been ruthlessly suppressed by the mass destruction of the evidence and the creation of a false history to suit the political purposes of the Roman Church." The authors compare the revolution of the imperial Christian church (which finally suppressed pagan worship) to the Communist revolution in Russia, arguing that both saw enormous bloodshed and suppression of all dissent. This kind of polemic detracts from the usefulness of this study. The book's great tragedy is that many of its most scholarly kernels of insight, such as the authors' discussion of Secret Mark or their tantalizing analysis of the Lazarus material, will be lost to responsible discussion. In sum, this is a disappointing, sensationalist polemic. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Freke (a philospher and author of books on spirituality) and Gandy (who is studying classical civilization) believe that first century Jewish mystics adapted the potent symbolism of the Osiris-Dionysus myths into a myth of their own, the hero of which was the Jewish dying and resurrecting godman Jesus. Therefore, the story of Jesus is a consciously crafted vehicle for encoded spiritual teachings created by Jewish Gnostics. We are unaware of this, they claim, because the Roman Catholic Church destroyed evidence of the connection between Christianity and the pagan mysteries. They make their case by offering an examination of mystery religions, especially Greek, pointing out the many parallels between them and what they see as the Gospels message about Jesus. Freke and Gandy are familiar with a significant amount of recent biblical scholarship, though they rely mostly on Elaine Pagels s work on the Gnostics. This book will obviously be controversial, but the authors are quite informed, as demonstrated by their extensive notes and bibliography. A list of related web sites, a Who s Who, and an index add to the book s usefulness. Recommended as an important book in the debate on the historical Jesus. David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Steven Schroeder
...the parallels that [Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy] draw are between early Christianity and the mystery religions of its time may intrigue a sizable readership.
Booklist
From the Publisher
“A wonderful blend of detective story, historical research, and clear thinking, The Jesus Mysteries explains in accessible form what has been known to scholars for centuries. The time for the inner mysteries of Christianity to be brought out of the closet is long overdue, and this book is a powerful and courageous voice for the cause.”
— Roger Housden, author of Sacred America and Sacred Journeys in a Modern World

“The Jesus Mysteries — ‘Book of the year.’ ” Daily Telegraph

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609605813
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/15/2000
  • Edition description: 1 AMER ED
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.59 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothy Freke has a degree in philosophy and is an authority on world mysticism, with more than twenty books published internationally. Peter Gandy has an M.A. in classical civilizations, specializing in the ancient Pagan Mystery religions. They have coauthored three previous publications: The Complete Guide to World Mysticism, Hermetica: The Lost Wisdom of the Pharaohs, and The Wisdom of the Pagan Philosophers. Their new book is Jesus and the Lost Goddess. For more information on the authors and their books, visit their website: www.jesusmysteries.demon.co.uk.

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Read an Excerpt

Jesus said, "It is to those who are worthy of my Mysteries that I tell my Mysteries."

The Gospel of Thomas

On the site where the Vatican now stands there once stood a Pagan temple. Here Pagan priests observed sacred ceremonies, which early Christians found so disturbing that they tried to erase all evidence of them ever having been practiced. What were these shocking Pagan rites? Gruesome sacrifices or obscene orgies perhaps? This is what we have been led to believe. But the truth is far stranger than this fiction.

Where today the gathered faithful revere their Lord Jesus Christ, the ancients worshiped another godman who, like Jesus, had been miraculously born on December 25 before three shepherds. In this ancient sanctuary Pagan congregations once glorified a Pagan redeemer who, like Jesus, was said to have ascended to heaven and to have promised to come again at the end of time to judge the quick and the dead. On the same spot where the Pope celebrates the Catholic mass, Pagan priests also celebrated a symbolic meal of bread and wine in memory of their savior who, just like Jesus, had declared:

He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation.

When we began to uncover such extraordinary similarities between the story of Jesus and Pagan myth we were stunned. We had been brought up in a culture which portrays Paganism and Christianity as entirely antagonistic religious perspectives. How could such astonishing resemblances be explained? We were intrigued and began to search farther. The more we looked, the more resemblances we found. To account forthe wealth of evidence we were unearthing we felt compelled to completely review our understanding of the relationship between Paganism and Christianity, to question beliefs that we previously regarded as unquestionable and to imagine possibilities that at first seemed impossible. Some readers will find our conclusions shocking and others heretical, but for us they are merely the simplest and most obvious way of accounting for the evidence we have amassed.

We have become convinced that the story of Jesus is not the biography of a historical Messiah, but a myth based on perennial Pagan stories. Christianity was not a new and unique revelation but actually a Jewish adaptation of the ancient Pagan Mystery religion. This is what we have called The Jesus Mysteries Thesis. It may sound far-fetched at first, just as it did initially to us. There is, after all, a great deal of unsubstantiated nonsense written about the "real" Jesus, so any revolutionary theory should be approached with a healthy dose of skepticism. But although this book makes extraordinary claims, it is not just entertaining fantasy or sensational speculation. It is firmly based upon the available historical sources and the latest scholarly research. While we hope to have made it accessible to the general reader, we have also included copious notes giving sources, references, and greater detail for those who wish to analyze our arguments more thoroughly.

Although still radical and challenging today, many of the ideas we explore are actually far from new. As long ago as the Renaissance, mystics and scholars saw the origins of Christianity in the ancient Egyptian religion. Visionary scholars at the turn of the nineteenth century also made comparable conjectures to our own. In recent decades, modern academics have repeatedly pointed toward the possibilities we consider. Yet few have dared to boldly state the obvious conclusions that we have drawn. Why? Because to do so is taboo.

For 2,000 years the West has been dominated by the idea that Christianity is sacred and unique while Paganism is primitive and the work of the Devil. To even consider that they could be parts of the same tradition has been simply unthinkable. Therefore, although the true origins of Christianity have been obvious all along, few have been able to see them, because to do so requires a radical break with the conditioning of our culture. Our contribution has been to dare to think the unthinkable and to present our conclusions in a popular book rather than some dry academic tome. This is certainly not the last word on this complex subject, but we hope it may be a significant call for a complete reappraisal of the origins of Christianity.






Copyright 2001 by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Unthinkable Thought 1
Chapter 2 The Pagan Mysteries 15
Chapter 3 Diabolical Mimicry 27
Chapter 4 Perfected Platonism 63
Chapter 5 The Gnostics 89
Chapter 6 The Jesus Code 111
Chapter 7 The Missing Man 133
Chapter 8 Was Paul a Gnostic? 159
Chapter 9 The Jewish Mysteries 177
Chapter 10 The Jesus Myth 191
Chapter 11 An Imitation Church 209
Chapter 12 The Greatest Story Ever Told 253
Notes 257
Bibliography 321
Who's Who 329
Picture Credits 336
Index 337
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2001

    De Javu all over again

    Magnificent: Glad to see John MacKinnon Robertson's effort ( Pagan Christs {1903}} is being continued. Try it, you'll like it. It may be hard to find -- but well worth the effort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2001

    Great place to begin

    I have been questioning my spiritual roots since I was a teenager. I began to seriously delve into who christ was and if he existed not long ago, after years of discontent in the christian church. I found this book to be excellently presented and categorized. They go into Gnosticism as well as Literalist christian thought. I have read other books that go deeper into the historicity of xristos, but none that gave such a great overview of early christian history and the 'battle' of literalism to destroy all other thought. I used it as a stepping stone to deeper issues in many tangents. They did great research, to which I plan to use for my next book reading. I could not put this one down, and read it in 3 days (with the anxiety of a 39 week prego wife I might add).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2001

    Right Historicity, Wrong Conclusion: Nothing NEW

    This scholarship certainly reveals nothing new to students of esoterica: occult Christian writers delineated certain mystical facts about Christ Jesus and His mission centuries earlier; the early gospel writers did not intend to give a bibliography of the man known as Jesus, but rather a formula of initiation which has -- in oversimplified terms -- been materialistically refereed to as a solar myth. These writers as well told the story of this cosmic being, the Messiah, who offered Himself as a vicarious atonement for the Jewish people, and then the World. Such was the arcane view of Dr. Rudolf Steiner and of Max Heindel. Although the word 'Rosicrucian' is used by several organizations, The Rosicrucian Fellowship has no connection with any of them. In the years 1907-08, after being tested for sincerity of purpose and selfless desire to aid his fellowmen, Max Heindel was selected by the Brothers of the Rose Cross to give out publicly the Western Wisdom Teachings and thus help prepare humanity for the coming Age of Universal Brotherhood. By means of intense self-discipline and devotion to service he earned the status of Lay Brother (Initiate) in the exalted Rosicrucian Order. Under the direction of the Brothers of the Rose Cross, spiritual giants of the human race, Max Heindel wrote The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, an epoch-making book which has now become the Western World's leading textbook on occultism. By means of his own spiritual development he was able to verify for himself much that was given in the Cosmo-Conception, as well as to gain additional knowledge that later become embodied in his numerous books. One of the basic conditions on which the Western Wisdom Teachings were given to Max Heindel was that no price should be set on them. This condition was faithfully observed by him to the end of his life, and has since been carefully observed by those directing the affairs of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. Although the Fellowship books are sold, the correspondence courses and the service of our Healing Department have been kept on the free will offering plan. There are no membership fees. ---------------------------------------------

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2001

    EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK!

    As a woman, I learned early on that Christianity did not value me as a human being so I began to explore other spiritual paths. When I read 'When God Was A Woman' by Merlin Stone, I read for the first time about Attis, Osirus and other 'Christ' figures that predated Christ. It was a revelation to me! I went on to read other books about the history of Christianity and found the same irrefutable fact over and over: the story of Christ is a myth, and not even an original one, at that! 'The Jesus Mysteries' goes into greater detail & spells out, very convincingly, why and how Jesus was created and by whom. It is astonishing to me that billions of people around the world worship a person who didn't exist! This is a big idea that will face a lot of resistance...but people need to know. I find that most of the people who argue against the theories of this book are people who have never read ANY history of Christianity or any other religions. How can you defend something you know nothing about? If all you've ever read is the Bible, you don't know the real story! This book is the real story. I found this book to be well researched, easily understood and interesting. It's about time this book was written! Read it and you'll know what I'm talking about!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2000

    I am amazed once again

    It is amazing how the latest and greatest scholars can only disprove Jesus. At long last you say, what a pathetic attack. The Early Church Fathers died for a myth from a pagan myth, I think not and neither did they. Even the Roman historians of the days of Jesus believed and wrote about Jesus yet today we have found out he did not. How great a feat to be 2000 years removed and now be an eyewitness. Do not take this book as gospel for it is only a myth itself. Several footnotes and the claim of being Christian does not make a book true. Check the other titles by the authors to see what else they state. I believe this book is just one more worthy of no worth.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2000

    Jesus Demystified

    At last someone has dared to get to the truth of the origins of Christianity. The book verifies what I have always suspected but have had no source to cite. The malignant cretinous form of religion we know as Christianity is a devolution from gnostic parentage that was in turn a subset of initiatory mysticism producted by the synthesis of Pagan and Jewish spirituality in the cultural cauldron of ancient Alexandria. The book is thoroughly engaging and well documented. I can only hope that they will expand on this theme in another volume. I would love to know more about Gnosticism, and the initiatory mystery religions that are related to it and its resurgence in our modern age.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2000

    This one ought to shut up Josh MacDowell...

    At long last the truth of Christianity is known! The belief that Jesus was just a myth has now been given even more credibility. This book is a must for anyone: for the Christian who narrow-mindedly believes his religion is so unique; for the philosopher wishing to increase his knowledge of 'god'; and for anyone who dares to open the doors of truth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2000

    The truth will set you free!!

    This is a very good book. Although the authors are Christian, they do a good job of looking at the evidence objectively and seeing what is there, not what they want to see. Having seriously studied the origins of Christianity for over 5 years now, none of this information was new to me. There is absolutely no historical evidence that the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament ever existed and this has been known and argued ever since the founding of Christianity. I found the authors theory that Christianity was originally created so that the Jewish people could have their own Mystery Religion very interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who actually wants to know the facts surrounding Christianity, instead of blindly believing what they were taught not to question all their life. '....the Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.' -- Thomas Paine, enlightened genius whose ideas helped shape the American Revolution.

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