Were Bible stories and characters stolen from pagan myths?

What's Here

This section is about charges that the Biblical stories were "borrowed" from other sources and are therefore fictional.


General Essays

Analysis of general principles used by the "borrowing" thesis.

Some notes on alleged parallels between Christianity and pagan religions -- an introductory commentary by a classical scholar writing for us as "Justin Martyr"

On Napoleon as Myth translated by "Justin Martyr"

The More Things Change -- a humourous look at how we're just having to reiterate things over the centuries

What did Justin Martyr Really Say?

Glenn Miller's general essay refuting the pagan-copycat thesis

Creation Ministries International on Indian creation myths

Old Testament "Borrowing"

Figures claimed to be sources for the Old Testament. Named entities in alphabetical order.

Akhenaten -- Did the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten influence Jewish monotheism?

Sargon -- Did the story of this Assyrian king influence the story of Moses?

Sinuhe -- Did the story of this Egyptian hero influence the Exodus account?

Was the creation account "stolen" from the Babylonian creation account?

Is the Biblical Flood story borrowed from pagan accounts? -- from Glenn Miller's Christian Thinktank.

Did NT Biblical writers "rip off" stories from the Old Testament? -- from Glenn Miller's Christian Thinktank. Also see our article on Randel Helms (right column).

Related Issues

Is the Christian fish symbol derived from pagan symbols?

Is Easter a pagan holiday?

Is Christmas pagan?

Abraham Lincoln Didn't Exist!

Abraham Lincoln was a copy of John F. Kennedy!

Copycat Savior Figures

Figures claimed to be sources for the life of Jesus. Named entities in alphabetical order.

Adonis -- The Greek deity: A source for the life of Jesus?

Alcides (Or Hercules) --The Greek strongman/demigod. See also another item here [Subscription to E-Block required].

Alexander of Abonuteichos -- A charismatic figure who started a quasi-religious movement; this is more of a claim of a social parallel.

Apollonius of Tyana -- Pagan performer of miracles and traveller.

Attis -- Phrygian and later Greco-Roman demigod. Also discusses the ritual of the "tauribolium".

Baal -- Ancient Near Eastern deity.

Balder -- Norse deity. Also discusses Frey.

Beddru of Japan -- As it happens -- a non-existent entity.

Buddha -- Two entries on this figure; one here and another here. Please also see Miller's essay linked in the left column.

Chu Chulainn -- Celtic hero.

Crite -- As far as I can find, another non-existent figure.

Dazhdbog -- Russian heroic figure.

Deva Tat -- Heroic figure from Siam.

Dionysus -- Greek god of wine.

Hesus -- Deity associated with druids.

Horus -- Egyptian deity. Also covers Osiris.

Krishna -- Hindu deity. Two essays, one here on moral teachings and one here on life story.

Mithra -- Persian deity.

Osiris -- Egyptian deity.

Prometheus -- Greek demigod.

Quetzalcoatl -- Mesoamerican deity.

Romulus -- co-founder of Rome. [subscription to E-Block required].

Salivahana -- Indian teacher.

Serapis -- Mediterranean deity.

Tammuz -- Sumerian shepherd-god.

Zamloxis -- Thracian hero.

Zoar -- Unknown figure.

Zoroaster -- Religious founder.

Critical Reviews

Essays and book reviews on persons who promote "copycat" theories.

Acharya S -- Preserves the work of 19th century freethinkers.

Atwill, Joseph -- author of Caesar's Messiah.

ben-Jochanon, Yosef -- from the school that says it was all borrowed from Africa.

Campbell, Joseph -- General proponent of copying of ideas via Jungian archaetypes.

Freke, Timothy and Peter Gandy -- review of The Jesus Mysteries

Graham, Lloyd M. -- author of Deceptions and Myths of the Bible

Greenberg, Gary -- author of 101 Myths of the Bible

Harpur, Tom -- author of The Pagan Christ

Helms, Randel --Author of Gospel Fictions, which proposes that the NT borrowed content from the OT.

Higgins, Godfrey -- early proponent of the copycat thesis.

Kalopoulus, Michael -- review of Biblical Religion: The Great Lie

Kuhn, Alvin Boyd -- a proponent early last century. Sample items commenting on his works Mary Magdalene and Her Seven Devils and Who Is This King of Glory?

MacDonald, Dennis -- Author of The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark

Massey, Gerald -- another early proponent.

Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth -- comments on Greg Kane's website.

Price, Robert -- Review of Deconstructing Jesus.

Lord Raglan by "Justin Martyr" -- Raglan was an early proponent of the "copycat" thesis.

Thompson, Thomas -- review of The Messiah Myth

Zeitgeist movie -- contains nothing not already addressed here, but see reader responses here and here.

Teaching Resources

Shattering the Christ MythChrist myuth Book -- my own book, with several chapters on the subject; hub page for the book here

Recommended Books -- a bibliography of books on the historical Jesus

Lesson [Word document] and PowerPoint (for adults and youth)

Deeper Waters interview with Joe Mulvilhill