Horus and Jesus in *Religulous*
I finally got a chance to see Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous. Its high entertainment value made the time fly buy, leaving me with the desire for more. Thumbs up for that.
It also made some important points, such as the fact that Christians often engage in the same kind of strained re-interpretation effort of the Bible as some Moslems do with the Qu’ran. Or that we don’t need the Ten Commandments to know that we shouldn’t go around murdering each other.
On the negative side: For a documentary, the movie has an amazingly low degree of accuracy. It starts with little things like Maher not getting the name of the last book of the Bible right (calling it “Revelations” instead of “Revelation”) and progresses to much bigger issues such as the alleged link between the Egyptian god Horus and Jesus Christ. If Religulous were to be believed, the writers of the Gospels copied all the essentials of their (fictional) Jesus from earlier Egyptian sources.
But is that true? Here is what Wikipedia says about it:
As one of Ancient Egypt’s oldest gods, Horus was worshipped at least as early as the Early Dynastic Period, thousands of years before the first century CE, when Jesus was in Palestine. However, there have been many parallels drawn between the life of Jesus and the stories of Horus’ life.
Theologian Tom Harpur studied the works of authors who wrote about ancient Egyptian religion: Godfrey Higgins, Gerald Massey and Alvin Boyd Kuhn. In his book Pagan Christ, Harpur argued that all of the essential ideas of both Judaism and Christianity came primarily from Egyptian religion. Harpur noted that Massey uncovered almost two hundred instances of “immediate correspondence between the mythical Egyptian material and the allegedly historical Christian writings about Jesus”.
The 2008 documentary Religulous reiterates the alleged link between Jesus and Horus, claiming that both were born of virgins, fought the devil in the desert and healed the sick and blind. W. Ward Gasque has written that Egyptologists have rejected many of the specific claims made by Harpur and Massey as fallacious, pointing out that there is no evidence of a virgin birth for Horus, and that Harpur’s main source, Alvin Boyd Kuhn, was a Theosophist whose books are mainly self-published and that his other sources are in the main not ancient Egyptian texts but out-of-date authors.
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