Sunday, March 19, 2006

Isis, Osiris and Horus Links to Christianity

One of these two images is a famous medieval icon of Mary and Jesus, the other is a bronze statue of Isis nursing Horus dating from the Ptolomeic era of Egypt

Some scholars argue that aspects of Isis worship have influenced the practices of some Christians in regard to the vIrgin Mary and especially her relationship with her son, Jesus. There is a strong resemblance to the depiction of the seated Isis holding or suckling the child Horus and the seated Mary and the baby Jesus. It has been suggested by these scholars that the reason Isis worship abruptly ends, despite the vast number of its adherents, is due to her having been identified as Mary, and her temples having been merely renamed in consequence. If this is true then it could be said that, in a way, Isis is still worshipped today, and has been for at least 5000 years.

Many Egyptologists however disagree with the claims, stating that by the time the cult of Virgin Mary arose, the worship of Isis has greatly evolved from the Egyptian myths, and her relationship with Horus was no longer a major factor. These egyptologists consider that the goddess whose worship was replaced by Christianity was a merged Isis-Aphrodite hybrid, with sexuality and magical aspects much more important to the cult. By this time she was almost never depicted as a mother with baby; she was mostly depicted alone, often lifting her dress to expose her genitals. Nethertheless, the resemblence between early christian images of Mary and those of Isis are sometimes striking, providing an explanation for the somewhat awkward position of Mary's arm - breastfeeding that was later censured by the addition of clothing.

Isis' son, Horus is an ancient god of Egyptian mythology, whose cult survived so long that he evolved dramatically over time and gained many names. The most well known name is the Greek Horus, representing the Egyptian Heru/Har, which is the basic element in most of the other names of Horus. Horus was so important that the Eye of Horus became an important Egyptian symbol of power and even to this day is represented on the U.S. one dollar bill.

Horus and Jesus

A connection between Jesus and Horus-Osiris is frequently raised by critics of the historicity of Jesus. Superficially, the death and resurrection of Horus-Osiris, and Horus' nature as both the son of Osiris and Osiris himself, appear to be a template for the idea that this occurred in Jesus.

Deeper similarities between Horus and Jesus, which are not at all obvious to those who are not completely familiar with ancient Egyptian mythology and linguistics, have been said by some to mean that certain elements of the story of Jesus were embellishments, which were copied from the Horus as syncretism. Indeed, according to a few more radical scholars, Jesus was copied from Horus wholesale, and made into a Jewish teacher. In particular, it is said that Horus is the basis for the elements assigned to the M Gospel (the bits in Matthew which are not in the Q Gospel or Mark) and the L Gospel (the bits in Luke which are not in the Q gospel or Mark), especially the infancy narratives.

Jesus brought salvation. Osiris brought salvation 1,400 years earlier. Osiris' followers knew their fate after death depended on the morality of the life they lead before death. The ancient Book of the Dead pictures resurrected believers standing in the presence of Osiris as their judge. If they could recite a list of their good deeds in life, Osiris rewarded them with eternal life. When initiates into the mysteries of Isis and Osiris died, their souls traveled to Heaven and Osiris became their king. How do we know this? The ancients tell us so. Here's Plutarch [who lived from about 45 to 120 AD] And it wasn't just Plutarch who wrote about salvation through Isis and Osiris:

"The keys of hell and the guarantee of salvation were in the hands of the goddess, and the initiation ceremony itself a kind of voluntary death and salvation through divine grace." Apuleius, Metamorphosis, Book 11, 21]

And, "Be of good cheer, O initiates, for the god is saved, and we shall have salvation for our woes." [Firmicus Maternus, The Error of Pagan Religions, 22.1]

Quoting the Goddess Isis: " I have come with solace and aid. Away then with tears. cease to moan. Send sorrow fleeing. Soon through my providence shall the sun of your salvation rise." Apuleius, Metamorphosis 11.5]

Wikipedia Links: Isis, Osiris, Horus

Link: Pagan Origins of Christ Myth

LINK: SHAKEN CREEDS: The Virgin Birth Doctrine By Jocelyn Rhys - Published 1922


Deedee said...

Interesting piece. If I can find it, I'll post a paper I wrote for my Spanish class about the origins of the Virgin of Guadalupe and it's connections with the Mayan mother goddess.

Stardust said...

Deedee---I will be looking forward to reading that.

freethoughtmom said...

wow! This is so interesting! Thanks!