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Parallels suggested between Jesus & Horus

Debates about the validity of the
evidence for the copycat thesis

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Was Horus born of a virgin?:

Acharya S. quotes priest and author Joseph McCabe:

"Whatever we make of the original myth, Isis seems to have been originally a virgin (or, perhaps, sexless) goddess, and in the later period of Egyptian religion she was again considered a virgin goddess, demanding very strict abstinence from her devotees. It is at this period, apparently, that the birthday of Horus was annually celebrated, about December 25th, in the temples. As both Macrobius and the Christian writer [of the "Paschal Chronicle"] say, a figure of Horus as a baby was laid in a manger, in a scenic reconstruction of a stable, and a statue of Isis was placed beside it. Horus was, in a sense, the Savior of mankind. He was their avenger against the powers of darkness; he was the light of the world. His birth-festival was a real Christmas before Christ. 1,2

Acharya S. mentions a number of other references to Egyptian virgin births in her essay on Horus. 2

James Frazer writes in The Golden Bough: 3

"The ritual of the nativity, as it appears to have been celebrated in Syria and Egypt, was remarkable. The celebrants retired into certain inner shrines, from which at midnight they issued with a loud cry, "The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing!" The Egyptians even represented the new-born sun by the image of an infant which on his birthday, the winter solstice, they brought forth and exhibited to his worshippers. No doubt the Virgin who thus conceived and bore a son on the twenty-fifth of December was the great Oriental goddess whom the Semites called the Heavenly Virgin or simply the Heavenly Goddess." 4

On the other hand, Christian theologian Ward Gasque surveyed twenty contemporary Egyptologists. He asked them about the relationship whether Horus experienced a virgin birth. Ten responded; they unanimously agreed that there is no evidence that Horus was born of a virgin 5

Did Horus have 12 disciples?

Glenn Miller wrote:

"...my research in the academic literature does not surface this fact. I can find references to four 'disciples'--variously called the semi-divine HERU-SHEMSU ('Followers of Horus'). I can find references to sixteen human followers. And I can find reference to an unnumbered group of followers called mesniu/mesnitu ('blacksmiths') who accompanied Horus in some of his battles. ... But I cannot find twelve anywhere." 6

Of course, the early Christian movement might have imported the concept of many disciples from Egypt and changed the number so that the number of Jesus' disciples matched the number of the tribes of Israel.

Gasque's survey came up empty on the matter of Horus' disciples as well.

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Was Horus crucified?

If the term "crucified" is defined as a Roman crucifixion, the answer is definitely no. The Roman Army that occupied Judea at the time of Jesus' execution had a highly organized method of executing uppity slaves and insurrectionists. It involved a flogging, forcing the victim to carry the cross arm to the place of execution, stripping the victim, tying his or her limbs in place (or rarely nailing them to the wood beams), waiting for the victim to die a slow, lingering death, and then throwing the body on a garbage heap for scavengers to eat. The whole procedure was carefully calculated to terrorize the population.

That type of  crucifixion did not exist in ancient Egypt, and thus Horus was definitely not given a Roman-type execution. However, some sources claim that he was crucified in the sense of being tied to a tree and allowed to die from asphyxiation and exposure.

On the other hand, Glen M. Miller writes:

I can find no references to Horus EVER dying, until he later becomes "merged" with Re the Sun god, after which he 'dies' and is 'reborn' every single day as the sun rises. And even in this 'death', there is no reference to a tomb anywhere... 7

Some websites discussing Horus, Yeshua, and the copycat theory:

Unfortunately, reading these information sources can be frustrating. Many of them contain statements like "Horus was crucified" or "There is no record of Horus being crucified," or "I have found no evidence for..." The reader is left hanging.

bulletChristian websites denying any connection:
bullet"Is Jesus a myth from Egypt," Living Sounds, 2007-AUG-12, at: http://livingsounds.org/
bulletZeitgeist Analysis, Part 1," Paxton's Blog, 2007-SEP-11, at: http://paxblog.vox.com/
bulletJames Holding, "Walk like an Egyptian," Tektonics Apologetics Ministries, at: http://www.tektonics.org/
bullet"Horus: Is Jesus' life story a copy?," Not on your Mama's Religion, 2008-OCT-07, at: http://www.notyourmamasreligion.com/
bullet"Aren?t there some striking parallels between the Jesus and Horus stories?," King David 8, at: http://www.kingdavid8.com/
 
bulletWebsites asserting a connection:
bulletKersey Graves, "The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors,  Biblia y Nazarenos, at: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net
bulletPeter Joseph, "Zeitgeist, the movie," the Zeitgeist Movement, at: http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/ This site has the movie, the Zeitgiest Addendum" movie and various interviews online.
bullet"The Cult of Horus," The Atheist Empire of Liverpool," at: http://atheistempire.wordpress.com/
bullet"Jesus as a Reincarnation of Horus," Near Death, at: http://near-death.com/
bulletRev. Brian J. Kiely, "The Pagan Christ," Unitarian Church of Edmonton, 2004-MAY-16, at: http://www.uce.ca/

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Joseph McCabe, "The Story of Religious Controversy," Stratford Co, (1929). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  2. Acharya S., "Born of a Virgin on December 25th: Horus, Sun God of Egypt," at: http://www.truthbeknown.com/
  3. James George Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion." Oxford University Press, (1998). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  4. Les Carney, "Krishna born of a virgin?," at: http://www.lescarney.com/
  5. Tom Harpur, "The Pagan Christ; Recovering the Lost Light," Thomas Allen, (2004), Page 5. Read reviews or order this book.
  6. James Patrick Holding, "Comparing Osiris, Horus and Jesus," at: http://tektonics.org/
  7. James Holding, "Walk like an Egyptian," Tektonics Apologetics Ministries, at: http://www.tektonics.org/

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Copyright © 2004 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Originally written: 2004-APR-25
Latest update: 2009-APR-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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