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The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? (Anglais) Relié – août 2000

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--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché.

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Jesus said, "It is to those who are worthy of my Mysteries that I tell my Mysteries."

The Gospel of Thomas

On the site where the Vatican now stands there once stood a Pagan temple. Here Pagan priests observed sacred ceremonies, which early Christians found so disturbing that they tried to erase all evidence of them ever having been practiced. What were these shocking Pagan rites? Gruesome sacrifices or obscene orgies perhaps? This is what we have been led to believe. But the truth is far stranger than this fiction.

Where today the gathered faithful revere their Lord Jesus Christ, the ancients worshiped another godman who, like Jesus, had been miraculously born on December 25 before three shepherds. In this ancient sanctuary Pagan congregations once glorified a Pagan redeemer who, like Jesus, was said to have ascended to heaven and to have promised to come again at the end of time to judge the quick and the dead. On the same spot where the Pope celebrates the Catholic mass, Pagan priests also celebrated a symbolic meal of bread and wine in memory of their savior who, just like Jesus, had declared:

He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation.

When we began to uncover such extraordinary similarities between the story of Jesus and Pagan myth we were stunned. We had been brought up in a culture which portrays Paganism and Christianity as entirely antagonistic religious perspectives. How could such astonishing resemblances be explained? We were intrigued and began to search farther. The more we looked, the more resemblances we found. To account for the wealth of evidence we were unearthing we felt compelled to completely review our understanding of the relationship between Paganism and Christianity, to question beliefs that we previously regarded as unquestionable and to imagine possibilities that at first seemed impossible. Some readers will find our conclusions shocking and others heretical, but for us they are merely the simplest and most obvious way of accounting for the evidence we have amassed.

We have become convinced that the story of Jesus is not the biography of a historical Messiah, but a myth based on perennial Pagan stories. Christianity was not a new and unique revelation but actually a Jewish adaptation of the ancient Pagan Mystery religion. This is what we have called The Jesus Mysteries Thesis. It may sound far-fetched at first, just as it did initially to us. There is, after all, a great deal of unsubstantiated nonsense written about the "real" Jesus, so any revolutionary theory should be approached with a healthy dose of skepticism. But although this book makes extraordinary claims, it is not just entertaining fantasy or sensational speculation. It is firmly based upon the available historical sources and the latest scholarly research. While we hope to have made it accessible to the general reader, we have also included copious notes giving sources, references, and greater detail for those who wish to analyze our arguments more thoroughly.

Although still radical and challenging today, many of the ideas we explore are actually far from new. As long ago as the Renaissance, mystics and scholars saw the origins of Christianity in the ancient Egyptian religion. Visionary scholars at the turn of the nineteenth century also made comparable conjectures to our own. In recent decades, modern academics have repeatedly pointed toward the possibilities we consider. Yet few have dared to boldly state the obvious conclusions that we have drawn. Why? Because to do so is taboo.

For 2,000 years the West has been dominated by the idea that Christianity is sacred and unique while Paganism is primitive and the work of the Devil. To even consider that they could be parts of the same tradition has been simply unthinkable. Therefore, although the true origins of Christianity have been obvious all along, few have been able to see them, because to do so requires a radical break with the conditioning of our culture. Our contribution has been to dare to think the unthinkable and to present our conclusions in a popular book rather than some dry academic tome. This is certainly not the last word on this complex subject, but we hope it may be a significant call for a complete reappraisal of the origins of Christianity. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

“A wonderful blend of detective story, historical research, and clear thinking, The Jesus Mysteries explains in accessible form what has been known to scholars for centuries. The time for the inner mysteries of Christianity to be brought out of the closet is long overdue, and this book is a powerful and courageous voice for the cause.”
-- Roger Housden, author of Sacred America and Sacred Journeys in a Modern World

“The Jesus Mysteries -- ‘Book of the year.’ ” Daily Telegraph --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0xdc4605bc) étoiles sur 5 268 commentaires
448 internautes sur 496 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xdc46b470) étoiles sur 5 The Jesus Mysteries--Recommended! 1 octobre 2000
Par readmore - Publié sur
Format: Relié
The church father Tertullian said the questions that make people heretics are these: Where does humanity come from, and how? Where does evil come from and why? He could have added, Where do religious beliefs come from, and what gives them their authority? In The Jesus Mysteries, authors Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy take on these heretical question with some surprising results. In an interview with Harpers, the authors had this to say about their new book: "During the centuries leading up to the birth of Christianity various cults known as `Mystery Religions' had spread throughout the Pagan world.  At the centre of these Mystery cults was a story about a dying and resurrecting godman who was known by many different names in many different cultures.  In Egypt, where the Mysteries originated, he was known as Osiris, in Greece as Dionysus, in Asia Minor as Attis, in Syria as Adonis, in Italy as Bacchus, in Persia as Mithras.  The more we discovered about this figure, the more his story began to sound uncannily familiar. "Here are just a few of the stories that were told about the godman of the Mysteries. His father is God and his mother is a mortal virgin. He is born in a cave or humble cow shed on the 25th of December before three shepherds.  He offers his followers the chance to be born again through the rites of baptism.  He miraculously turns water into wine at a marriage ceremony. He rides triumphantly into town on a donkey while people wave palm leaves to honour him.  He dies at Easter time as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. After his death he descends to Hell, then on the third day he rises from the dead and ascends to heaven in glory. His followers await his return as the judge during the Last Days. His death and resurrection are celebrated by a ritual meal of bread and wine, which symbolize his body and blood. "On the basis of this and much other evidence we now believe that the story of Jesus is not the biography of an historical Messiah, but a myth derived from the Pagan Mysteries.  The original Christians, the Gnostics, were Jewish mystics who synthesized the Jewish myth of the Messiah with the myth of the Pagan godman in order to make Pagan mysticism easily accessible to Jews. The origin of Christianity is not to be found in Judaism, as previously supposed, but in Paganism. Ironic don't you think? "Ironic indeed, but as a longtime student of mythology, philosophy and religion, their premise intrigued me immediately. I had long known of similarities between pagan religions and Christianity, but until The Jesus Mysteries I had not found a comprehensive source that tried to pull all these threads together and make a synthesis of them. Freke and Gandy take us on a wide ranging and well documented journey through numerous sources, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi library and Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy in an effort to show the mythical and philosophical antecedents of the Christian religion. Along the way they also survey the violent and contentious history of the early Christian church as it made its way from an outlawed sect to the official religion of the Holy Roman Empire. Not everyone will agree with their conclusions, but the authors thoughtfully provide hundreds of bibliographical references and footnotes so most anyone can review their research and make up their own minds. The book is provocative but compelling, and I rank it as one of the most important books I have read in the last 30 years.
116 internautes sur 128 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xdc471e9c) étoiles sur 5 A Brave Book 29 mars 2002
Par Jeff Danelek - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Abandon all hope ye who enter here! This is one of the most dangerous books I've come across in a while and I urge all open-minded Christians to steer well clear of this tome lest they uncover the truth behind Christianity and perhaps even discover the God of the Universe who exists beyond traditional religion in the process!
Seriously, though, I found The Jesus Mysteries to be one of the bravest and most thought-provoking pieces of work I've come across in years. It is a lucid and exhaustively researched expose of the history of Christianity and its battles with Gnosticism put forth in laymen's terms that really gets the mind racing and the heart pumping. In it, Freke and Gandy make an excellent case for the idea that Christianity is actually a Jewish version of earlier Pagan Mystery Religions then in vogue in the Roman Empire with Jesus but a mythological character designed to reflect earlier Pagan mangod beliefs. They show--successfully, I think--that what started out as a mystical Gnostic Christianity was ultimately superceded by a Literalist Christianity (by which they mean Christians who intepret the Jesus stories as literal, historical events rather than mythological analogies and metaphors as did the Gnostics) that denied the very mystical, mythological underpinnings that created the movement in the first place. Their reports on some of the early church fathers and their complicity in destroying what they consider to have been the original "true faith" of Gnostic Christianity are brutal, especially in using these men's own writings and words against them, and their overview of the role of the Catholic Church in suppressing all belief systems that were at variance with their own is nothing short of savage. These men name names and take no prisoners, and have the references to back it up!
That's not to say this book is perfect. Freke's and Gandy's attempts to demonstrate the modern gospels to be "full of contradictions" was weak at best in using examples that have been largely successfully refuted by modern apologists, though they did score a few good solid "hits." And their use of the Book of Hebrews to bolster their claim that Paul was a Gnostic entirely ignored the fact that almost no modern scholars consider Hebrews a genuine Pauline writing in any case, making any "pro gnostic" statements in it irrelevant to their argument. They also have little to support their contention that some of the Pauline letters are later forgeries while others are genuine other than an apparent bias against any supposed Pauline statements that do not support their original contention. Yet even then, I still had to admit that their case for a Gnostic Paul was not entirely without merit; I only question their methodology. Finally, to bolster their arguments that the literalists "doctored" the Bible to suit their needs, they date the main Gospels along with the Book of Acts (with the possible exception of Mark) to the mid second century, much later than even most liberal scholars are usually willing to accept.
Yet despite these problems and a few lapses in logic, Freke and Gandy make a good solid case for Christianity being but another reflection of much earlier and widespread Pagan mythologies that should give many open-minded Christians much reason to pause. I also found it heartening at the end of the book when they demonstrated that their intention was not to destroy Christianity--which is where the book initially seems to be going--but to restore it to its original spiritual meaning and vitality. Like Bishop John Shelby Spong, their intent seems to be to save Christianity from itself. Only time will tell whether they have succeeded, but knowing the mindset of the average fundamentalist--and I was one myself once--I doubt if they have a Gnostic's chance in Hell of being successful.
61 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xdc46c898) étoiles sur 5 The Jesus Mysteries - Highly Recommended 13 décembre 2000
Par Corlyss M. Drinkard - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book is a revelation - not about the truth or fiction of an historical Christ, but about the phenomenon of Mediterranean culture known as Mystery Cults and their impact on the formation of Ancient Christianity. This thesis is not new with the current authors, but never has it been carried with such clarity for the general reader interested in Ancient Christianity but largely ignorant of its cultural milieu.
The influence of the Mystery Cults on Judaism didn't start with Christ. It may have even predated the influence of Alexander the Great; there's a strong argument that it reflects the influence of Egyptian religion and older religions that arose in the Mediterranean family of tribes and nations. These arguments cannot be discounted or dismissed because of the use the authors have put them. The book relies on the most recent studies by archeologists and Bibical scholars, two fields that have virtually exploded in the last 20 years with more accurate pictures of the Meditarranean cultures and writings and more accurate datings of familiar events. In fact the notes and the bibliography alone are worth the price of the book.
This book has led me on a wonderful voyage of exploration and discovery. If there are any out there who would like to plot their own voyage, I encourage you to get the book and start now on your trip. You won't be disappointed.
65 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xdc47315c) étoiles sur 5 A Refreshingly Complete View 13 octobre 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Many will see the basic premise of "The Jesus Mysteries" to be the similarities between Christianity and the earlier Pagan Mystery Religions. This concept is not new and has been turned into a strawman and somewhat refuted by certain Christian Apologists.
What makes this work unique is the completeness of the story, from the Pagan origins of the themes of Christianity, to the Mysteries' influence in the areas surrounding the first known Christian churches, to the earliest debates within the church over the "heretical" views of Gnosticism. Earlier works on this subject left many questions unanswered, but the complete story from Freke and Gandy leaves no stone unturned.
Critics will attempt to knock out a few legs of their argument, but the completeness of the argument means it has a solid foundation that can handle a few valid criticisms. The criticisms I've seen so far, however, resort to ad-hominem attacks against the credibility of the authors (such as "they don't have a degree in Theology, so how could they write about Jesus", which would be like saying that the only ones capable of criticizing one of Bush's speeches is a life-time member of the Republican party), nit-picking about how hard it is to find the books they reference, or thinking that by refuting a single claim, one can refute the entire work.
But none of the criticisms of the theory have convinced me that their basic premise is not entirely feasible -- at least as feasible as someone walking on water and raising the dead.
The proposed "true" history of christianity from its roots as a hellenized mystery religion expressed through Gnosticism with the literal interpretation of the Gospels being only the "outer" mystery (and never intended to be taken as literal), followed by an enforcement of "orthodoxy" by later literalists is very much supported by what we know of the ancient times ... often from the very texts the church holds sacred.
Certainly no fundamentalist myself, I had been introduced to the complete silence of the earliest Christians to any historical Jesus..., and have been open to finding the complete story. I suspect it is somewhere between Freke and Gandy's hypothesis and Doherty's.
Although somewhat one-sided (and who isn't), I still give it 5 stars due to the completeness of the theory. Is it true? Maybe. Is it entirely plausible and supported by history? Definitely.
47 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xdc473270) étoiles sur 5 Enlightening and Annoying. 26 septembre 2000
Par Peter Bridgman - Publié sur
Format: Relié
'The Jesus Mysteries' is both very enlightening and very annoying at the same time. Among the irritations are the authors pretensions (they repeatedly claim that they started out with no particular agenda when it is quite obvious that this is untrue) and the book's tabloid style (they tend to use a lot of exclamation marks as though they are astounded by their discoveries). Despite these annoyances, the authors' argument - that there is no evidence for a historical Christ and that the Jesus story was cobbled together from elements of Platonism and contemporary Mystery cults - is extremely persuasive. So much so that this book, despite its tabloid style, demands a serious counter-argument from theologians.
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