Monday, January 5, 2009

Is Jesus just cut and paste from pagan religions?

I continue to find popular writers saying that Christianity simply borrowed pagan ideas when they wrote about Jesus. In a forthcoming book from HarperOne, Saving Jesus From the Church by Robin Meyers, he notes the similarities between Jesus and Mithras (among others). Meyers comments on how we need to do serious Bible study and he has a serious axe to grind with fundamentalist/conservative writers who apparently aren't serious when doing Bible study(although he cites very few conservative scholars, N.T. Wright is about the only one). William Lane Craig was asked a question on this issue recently and his answer is illuminating. Essentially this is a dead issue in the scholarly community and is only found in popular writers and from those in the Jesus Seminar (as with Meyers above). On Mithras I recommend this page I found online. Also note chapter four in Lee Strobel's book The Case for the Real Jesus, "Christianity's Beliefs about Jesus Were Copied from Pagan Religions." See especially the interview with Edwin Yamauchi (pp. 164-87) who authored eighty-eight papers on Mithraism and was invited in 1975 to deliver a paper at the Second International Congress on Mithraic Studies in Tehran! His assessment is the same as Craig's. The scholars have done the research and the evidence has been found wanting. Christians don't need to fear these kind of allegations.

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