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

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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?
...

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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

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

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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609807989
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/25/2001
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 462,297
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.75 (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 for the 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.

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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
( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Find the Christ in You!

    I found this book to be very thought provoking and well worth reading. I have been questioning the Jesus Story for years. I was raised Christian, in the Methodist Church, but as an adult I've questioned how God, being a loving God, would expect us to buy into this paranormal story when all around us we see God's beauty in nature and the natural world. How could the Creator of the Universe expect Man (with our God given brains) to believe such non sense. But I continued to question; if this was just a Pagan Religion how did it survive for so long when the other Pagan religions did not? Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy do a wonderful job of laying out the evidence of which I have suspected for many years doing my own research on the subject. They showed how The Church in Rome revised the original writings of the early Christians to spin it into a super-natural event that was never intended to be taken as literal. The one thing that I was surprised about was how sad I felt after realizing how much time we've lost developing our true spirituality by trying to buy into this fable. I just wish more Christians would take the time to learn about the early Christians and who they thought Jesus really was. And you won't get it from the Bible. That's like learning about The Democratic party from the writings of the Republicans or visa versa. The Church doesn't want us to know the real beginnings of Christianity so you have to search outside of the Church. The Jesus Mystery theory makes much more sense than anything I've read from any Bible expert. The Jesus Mystery theory helps to understand the Bible for what it really was intended, especially the New Testament. It also takes my guilt away for trying to develop my personal relationship with God on my own... which is what I feel Jesus' message is all about. The Kingdom of God is among You, not in a book written by MEN thousands of years ago! Peter said "The Christ IN you"... not "Christ IS in you". The masses of people parading to church on Sunday are trying to convince themselves they buy into the Pagan Story of Jesus, but it's not necessary! The Church has guilted you into believing or you'll be damned to hell!... what a great way to keep you people under control! It's time to stand up for yourself...find your own personal Christ within you. You can still be a Christian and not have to buy into this Fable! It's OK! God loves all of us and we'll all make it to heaven. He didn't intend for us to buy into someone else's idea of God. You have to find God within yourself. It's just a shame that The Church hasn't evolved as man has, and God intended. Think People... use your God Given Brains!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2003

    Raises interesting points

    The negative reviews here, unfortunately, offer only attacks without any evidence or even a coherent argument at all. It does, however, highlight one of the weaknesses of the book -- too quickly glossing over the "evidence" that the Christian Church has asserted to not only provide a historical story for Jesus and the foundation of their religion, but the dogma embodied in church teachings. The authors did an adequate job in the early segments of the book on drawing parallels with pagan religious practices and teachings (some of the pagan texts are downright creapy to read because of the close alignment to standard Catholic/Lutheran prayers and teachings. Although reading the book one might immediately dismiss 2000 years of Christian history and dogma, the authors are a little too quick to make correlations between similar practices and beliefs to be evidence of the big Christian lie. The authors' very general lumping of all pre-Christian religions together in order to find comparisons in practices stretches the argument a bit -- although there are some similarities between the Egyptian's Ossiris, Platonic teachings, and other pagan traditions as part of the ancient mysteries, they are far from any coherent or consistent progression in religious/philosophical beliefs. For those contemplating reading the book, please note that the authors' central thesis on the "pagan god" is based upon a definitiion of paganism that essentially includes hundreds of different elements of pre-Christianity based upon the ancient mysteries (not simply the traditional notions of pagan orgies, sacrifices, etc. that have been portrayed by the Christian Church). All and all, a very interesting book that raises a serious thesis. What would be fascinating is to read a credible counter from the Christian realm that might explore the weaknesses in the thesis and provide a better argument about the historical evidence that the Church offers. However, most Christians will angrily dismiss the book because it raises serious doubts that they are unwilling or unable to confront in their own "faith" and agnostics (like myself) will find it yet another set of interesting (although not new) arguments for Christianity being a well-written myth/fantasy.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2003

    open your mind...

    Literalist Christians will dismiss this book, and that is to be expected. It's what they do, dismiss facts. However, for the open-minded, this is an enlightening read, combining much of the dispersed information regarding early Christianity into one volume. To quote from the book, from Celsus: "It matters not a bit what one calls the supreme god--or whether one uses Greek names or Indian names or the names used formerly by the Egyptians." It's all the same god. Stop killing each other over differences in a name.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2002

    Great Book, but Nothing New...

    I highly recommend this book, however, I would caution the beginner with the following: There really isn't anything new in this book. The authors try to make the book read like they have discovered something unheard of before. The truth is, people have been discussing this for years. Secondly, the authors tend to imply, whether that is their intent or not, that all the groups they speak of are of one congruent and systematic thought... this is not the case. Yet, these two short comings aside, this is a great introduction for the person just beginning their quest for the origins of Christianity. I have recommended this book to several friends already.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2004

    Thank you for debunking the Christian claptrap

    Fascinating book that takes apart each piece of the Christian myth bit by bit and shows how it was lifted <i>entirely</i> from the religions that came before it. I think people who descend from the original Mithraists should sue the Christian church for copyright infringement.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Finally!!!

    This book is the answer to a search I have performed many times over to find an author who has laid out plainly the ties that Christianity has to its pagan predecessors. I immensly enjoyed this book and it is on my Favorites shelf.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2005

    Digging Deeper

    A very intruing read. Digs deep to find the possible roots of early Christianity. Gives evidence of the transformation of early Pagan mystics into the early Christian thoughts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    too much evidence to ignore this theory

    too much evidence to ignore this theory

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  • Posted April 9, 2011

    understanding the meaning of agnostic

    this is a great book for understanding the differences in beliefs of the agnostic and literalist christians. it talks about the greek philosophers and how they influenced the branches of christianity

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2004

    Reason Wins Again

    This is a fantastic book! Every Christian should read it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2002

    Garbage

    This book is basically trash. Facts are distorted with truths and scripture taken out of context. No self-respecting anybody would give any credit or admiration to this work.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 15, 2011

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    Posted January 4, 2010

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    Posted January 3, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

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    Posted January 19, 2010

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    Posted January 18, 2010

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    Posted December 19, 2011

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    Posted September 4, 2010

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    Posted July 30, 2009

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