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The Jesus Mysteries: Was The Original Jesus A Pagan God? [Paperback]

Timothy Freke , Peter Gandy
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 April 2000

This groundbreaking book looks at one of the greatest cover-ups in history and dares to think the unthinkable about Christianity – that it was in fact a Jewish Mystery School modelled on the ancient Pagan Mysteries.

The myth of Dionysus bears startling resemblances to the the story of Jesus Christ. It compares with the biblical story in the following ways:
• Dionysus is God made flesh and is hailed as the ‘Saviour of Mankind’ and the ‘Son of God’
• His father is God and and his mother is a mortal virgin who afterwards becomes worshipped as the ‘Mother of God’
• He is born in a cowshed
• He drives out demons, turns water into wine and and raises people from the dead
• He rides triumphantly into town while people wave palms to honour him

The date revered by the first Christians as Jesus’ birthday was originally that of Dionysus, also the three day Spring Festival of Dionysus celebrating his death and resurrection coincides with the Christian festival of Easter. The last Supper and the Eucharist are also parallel Dionysian rites.
This is not common knowledge as the story was a closely guarded secret of the Pagan mysteries. Secondly the evidence of Christianity’s pagan roots were systematically covered up the Roman Church.


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The Jesus Mysteries: Was The Original Jesus A Pagan God? + Jesus and the Lost Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians + The Laughing Jesus
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Thorsons; New Ed edition (3 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0722536771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722536773
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

For anyone who is not familiar with historical and biblical scholarship of the last half century or so, The Jesus Mysteries will come as something of a shock. Believing Christians will find it disturbing; Evangelicals will be horrified by it; Fundamentalists will no doubt ascribe it to the devil. And yet much in the book will be familiar to scholars.

Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy demonstrate clearly and unambiguously that much of Christian belief and practice, rather than being (as the Church has always claimed) a vast contrast with the Pagan ideas of Greece and the Middle East 2,000 years ago, actually draws on those traditions. It's not just virgin births that were two-a-penny in pre- Christian religions, but baptism, communion, and the very concept of a dying and rising God–man. December 25th was the birthday of Mithras long before Jesus came along. Other gods turned water into wine, stilled stormy waters, healed the sick and raised the dead. Even the teachings of Jesus on love, moral purity, humility and poverty were not wholly original; while Christian beliefs on heaven and hell (and the Catholic Church's purgatory) owe far more to Paganism than they do to the Judaism from which Christianity grew.

All of this, to a greater or lesser extent, has been known for decades; much of it, for example, can be found in a 1920s book called Pagan and Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning. Where Freke and Gandy develop their theory, though, is more contentious. They conclude that the Christian religion was actually designed as another version of the Pagan religion, that Jesus was simply another variant on Osiris, Dionysius, Mithras and other earlier gods, invented for the Jewish people. This controversial thesis will be dismissed by many readers, but the meticulous footnoting of sources, both ancient and modern, will cause others to wonder if this book ought to be taken more seriously than many recent rewritings of history. --David V. Barrett --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

‘Rarely have the roots of Christianity been disentangled to such disturbing effect. I shall never be able to read the gospels in the same way again.’
ROGER BOULTON, presenter of Radio 4’s The Sunday Programme

‘A provocative, exciting and challenging book.’
The Rt Revd JOHN SHELBY SPONG, Bishop of Newark


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but... 31 Oct 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is well researched and provides compelling detail on the origins of Christianity. I've been searching for a book like this for years and I'm glad I've found it. My only quibbles are that it does tend to overstate its case at times (there really is no need; the evidence is clear enough on its own) and the style is a bit sensationalist. The irritating and wholely excessive use of exclamation marks encapsulates both of these faults. However, those are essentially surface points. The meat is in the arguments and evidence. Here, the copious footnotes are invaluable. Ironically, a little less missionary zeal on the part of the authors (and a little less of the occasional speculation presented as fact) would have made their underlying analysis even stronger. Still, if you want a good analysis of this difficult subject, here it is.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gnosticism defended 9 April 2011
Format:Paperback
The Jesus Mysteries is a radical reinterpretation of the Jesus story. Freke and Gandy argue that nearly all of the miracles (and the moral teaching given by Christ) were constructed from elements of the surrounding Pagan Greco-Roman culture. Historically, we regard Christianity as being 'set apart' from the Pagan cultures of the classical world and this is perhaps inevitable given the primacy of the Christian church in Western culture. However, when we study the Bible in the light of modern scholarship a very different version of the origins of Christianity emerges from that propagated for millennia by the institution of the church.

For most of the Christian era the 'Gnostics' were the shadowy enemy of the true Church; we only really knew about their beliefs and practices through the writings of their detractors and of course that isn't a very good way of obtaining accurate information. All this changed in 1945 with the discovery of a cache of 'Gnostic' Gospels at Nag Hammadi in Egypt. For the first time in over 1000 years the Gnostics-through these rediscovered writings- could speak for themselves.

The fact that the Gnostic Gospels were condemned by what we now think of as the 'mainstream' church doesn't make them any less spiritually interesting or any less spiritually potent. After all, who is to judge that the faith of a small group of early Christians gathered around 'The Thought of Norea' or 'The Gospel of Thomas' was somehow deficient compared to a similar group gathered around 'Mark' or 'Matthew,' though it must be said that the Gnostic Gospels are not all sweetness and light.
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40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a brilliant and well researched work 9 May 2000
Format:Hardcover
This book might be aimed at different types of reader. It succeeds on several levels. If it is aimed at the newcomer to critical review of the canonical sources then it is an excellent work to start with. If it is aimed at more experienced person, then it succeeds even more. I am well familiar with critical evaluation of the gospels, Paul's letters, Acts, etc. together with the Apocrypha, the early Church Fathers and all the ancient sources. Likewise I am familiar with the ancient religious rituals and myths. No one who has studied Frazer's Golden Bough and Graves' The White Goddess or his Greek Myths will find too much here that is horrifying. The authors themselves modestly and honestly point out that there is nothing much here that is new. Their revelation of the Osiris/Dionysus cults' similarity with the story of Jesus reminds me of when I read Joel Carmichael's the Death of Jesus when I was at college many years ago. He compares the Mithras cult with that of Christianity and, like messrs. Freke and Gandy, he is not surprised that the 'new' religion took hold in the mediterranean world.
But even an old hand like myself is impressed by the clarity of these authors. They set out all the arguments in a way that is of great use in discussion. I might have known much of the stuff from different sources but Freke and Gandy set them out in a way that relieves me of the need to refer to a number of works. They may have set out to produce a 'popular' type work to bring the arguments to 'the masses' but I feel quite at home with them on a scholarly level as I do with EP Sanders, Geza Vermes etc.
To be honest, like Sanders, Vermes, A.N.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rewriting history or uncovering it? 1 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book send a pretty interesting shock wave through christianity, and it takes a lot to shake a christian these days, the chuch being too busy trying to cover up one scandal after another in the present, it doesn't have time anymore to deal with the ones rooted at its origins.
Tim Freke makes it clear at the beginning of the book that its aim was not so much a single minded attack on christianity (and reitereates this at various points in the book) but to offer a different path, an alternate way of lookin at and dealing with its legacy, which no doubt the church will ignore and its proponents will decry as some of the books critics have tried, which some of the negative comments here are proof of, falling back on very weak arguments that the writer is not enough of a scholar or lacks the academic pedigree to be taken seriously or that the secondary literature on the subject he refers to is too obscure and hard to find. Really? That's the best they came up with?
Just read the book and judge for yourself and no, he's no Dan Brown, thank unconscious field, he makes a very convincing case and offers a glimpse to a different path of spirituality which I can recommend and read some of his other work, especially The Mystery Experience.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth At Last ; Put Together Simply and Logically
Where do we come from ? What are we really all about ? Why does so much time seem to have been lost as much of the Western World got side-tracked. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Sean Crumpton
1.0 out of 5 stars a little knowledge is a dangerous thing
when I read on the first page of chapter one about Jesus coming back to judge the "quick and the dead" I thought about a gun slinging movie and then laughed.... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Shane Rooney
5.0 out of 5 stars In the words of Douglas Adams "Well, that just about wraps it up for...
This book, along with Christopher Hitchens' "God is not Great", should be compulsory reading for all the family. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bignose
5.0 out of 5 stars At last some truth
I bought this book after I had read Jesus and the Goddess Sophia. It filled in all the missing details in my recent search for the origins of Christianity. Read more
Published 7 months ago by kaylim
3.0 out of 5 stars Jesus origin
Subjet and arguments very interesting, matter would be presented and discussed in all schools to verify the lies about the christian religion and its never existed god son
Published 12 months ago by paolo
3.0 out of 5 stars Neo-Gnostics on shaky ground
"The Jesus Mysteries" is a fascinating, compelling and almost mesmerizing book, written by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy. I read the book years ago, and it did rock my world! Read more
Published on 30 Dec 2011 by Ashtar Command
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding!
Even as an out and out atheist, I was shocked by the revelations of this book. Although a non-believer, I always thought that Jesus was a real historical character and that there... Read more
Published on 16 Dec 2011 by Alan Cambs
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new.
I keep reading these books in the hopes of finding something different or interesting from the actual scholastic books and papers on the same topics. Read more
Published on 23 Nov 2011 by Memnon
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enlightening text
I purchased this book after becoming aware of the similarities between the myths of Mithras, Osiris and Jesus and wanting to look further into it. Read more
Published on 7 April 2011 by Mark Eaton
5.0 out of 5 stars scope out, see the big picture, be liberated
Breadth of knowledge is usually a good thing, read widely for a balanced perspective! I was brought up in a church where there was a conspiracy of silence (or was it simply... Read more
Published on 31 Oct 2010 by A.
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