The Jesus Mysteries: Was the

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

by Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy


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The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? by Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy

“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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780609807989
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 09/25/2001
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 547,337
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.76(d)

About 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:

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.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1The Unthinkable Thought1
Chapter 2The Pagan Mysteries15
Chapter 3Diabolical Mimicry27
Chapter 4Perfected Platonism63
Chapter 5The Gnostics89
Chapter 6The Jesus Code111
Chapter 7The Missing Man133
Chapter 8Was Paul a Gnostic?159
Chapter 9The Jewish Mysteries177
Chapter 10The Jesus Myth191
Chapter 11An Imitation Church209
Chapter 12The Greatest Story Ever Told253
Who's Who329
Picture Credits336

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The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fascinating book that takes apart each piece of the Christian myth bit by bit and shows how it was lifted entirely from the religions that came before it. I think people who descend from the original Mithraists should sue the Christian church for copyright infringement.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Authors' investigation was weak. Based on the time these evidences actually came from, whose stories were based whose. With very little investigation, a lot of these similarities don't even exist.
guitaoist3 More than 1 year ago
too much evidence to ignore this theory
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Skully Shemwell More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kb6fns More than 1 year ago
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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Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book! Every Christian should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.