by D.M. Murdock/Acharya S
September 1, 2009
from RobaliniBlogSpot Website
The terms "mythicism" and "mythicist" may be new to many people, even though they have been around for a couple of centuries. "Mythicist" was first coined in German and English to describe people who doubted the historical veracity of the Judeo-Christian Bible.
The word is used these days particularly to define scholars, researchers and others who investigate whether or not the New Testament character of Jesus Christ was a real, historical person or a myth along the lines of the gods, godmen and heroes of other cultures, such as Hercules, Mithra or Horus.
Therefore, the word "mythicist" has come into greater currency of late, because of the increasing popularity of one of its main foci:
A mythicist may also question the historicity of other biblical figures such as Adam, Eve, Satan, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and so on. When the religion and mythology of other ancient cultures are studied, there exists good reason to doubt that these figures are historical, especially since we possess no credible and scientific archaeological or historical evidence for their existence as real people.
The Bible is often the only purported
proof we have of these individuals' alleged reality as historical
A "mythicist" thus represents in part someone who perceives certain biblical characters as being mythical, the same as the gods, godmen and heroes of other cultures.
Moreover, a mythicist may also recognize
the origins of these myths as being based in nature worship and what
is called "astrotheology."
This astrotheology can be summed up in a
nutshell as the reverence for and personification of the sun, moon,
earth, planets, stars and constellations, as well as other celestial
bodies and natural phenomena. The study of mythicism, astrotheology
and archaeoastronomy reveals a very ancient body of knowledge that
is both highly fascinating and far too overlooked in today’s
Latin writer Macrobious (c. 400 AD/CE) also wrote about the astrotheology of the ancients, asserting that,
In the modern era, archaeologists and archaeoastromers have confirmed this ancient astrotheology in numerous sites throughout the world, as summarized by astronomer Dr. Edwin C. Krupp in In Search of Ancient Astronomies:
The mythicist position brings forward the ancient astrotheology as expressed in these numerous cultures and ties it into the more modern religious traditions, which in many aspects are simply rehashes of the earlier religion and mythology of antiquity: To reiterate, Jesus Christ is a mythological character along the same lines as the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Indian or other mythical gods, goddesses, godmen and heroes.
This particular field is called "Jesus
mythicism," while its adherents are sometimes (derogatorily) labeled
In France, at the end of the 18th century appeared the multi-volume work of Professor Charles François Dupuis (1742-1809), who put together a massive amount of evidence showing that many of the ancient gods and goddesses were solar in nature and that biblical characters such as Jesus shared numerous aspects in common with these deities.
Dupuis was followed by Count Volney (1757-1820), both of whom tutored French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, who himself supposedly once stated that the question of whether or not Jesus Christ really existed was a "good one."
In the 19th century, these French scholars were followed by Dr. F.C. Baur of the Tübingen School in Germany, along with his pupil Dr. David F. Strauss, who was attacked and lost his occupation for writing a "Life of Jesus" asserting that much of the gospel story was mythical.
Strauss practically defined "mythicism"
for a time, but was followed famously by Dr. Bruno Bauer
(1809-1882), who likewise cast doubt on the Bible as "history."
Prior to this seemingly sudden burst of mythicism, there appeared in addition to the voluminous writings published in 1795 by Dupuis, as well as those of Volney, the works of Rev. Dr. Robert Taylor (1784-1844), who spent three years in prison in the late 1820's and early 1830's for two convictions of "blasphemy," based on his popular lectures asserting that Christ was a myth.
This punishment did not deter Taylor from publishing a number of books on the subject, including The Syntagma (1828), The Diegesis (1829), and The Devil's Pulpit (1831).
Yet, his ordeal was so infamous and horrifying that it haunted evolutionist Charles Darwin, who feared his own writings would land him a similar fate.
Following this brouhaha, in 1840 an
individual wisely maintaining his anonymity by calling himself
merely a "German Jew" (J.C. Blumenfeld?) published a series of
pamphlets in a volume entitled, The Existence of Christ Disproved by
Another earlier scholar who extensively
dipped into mythicism was Sir Godfrey Higgins (1772-1833),
although he was not a mythicist per se but an evemerist
who believed that under all of the mythical attributes of various
godmen lay a "real person."
Although many people believe evemerism to be a "reasonable" position, often expressing that, while they do not believe Jesus was the Son of God, they do believe he was a "real person," the fact is that there simply exists no valid, scientific evidence for this "real person," such as any historical record or archaeological remains. Moreover, when the mythological layers are peeled, there remains no "historical" core to the onion.
To paraphrase Massey, a composite of 20
people is no one. Evemerism is generally the result of skepticism as
concerns miracles, yet lacking an in-depth knowledge and
understanding of the mythicist position.
We hope that this article will help to
establish this previously marginalized and ignored position as a
viable option worthy of respect and scientific study.
However, the burying of this massive body of astro-mythological information, which reflects virtually the entire modus vivendi of certain cultures such as that of ancient Egypt, has been at the core of much cultural degradation and loss.
The resurrection of this ancient astro-theological knowledge as one of the foundations of mythicism may indeed constitute one of the most important, world-changing events we can strive to achieve, a paradigm shift comparable to that of Galileo.
Despite the pitfalls, more than a few scholars, researchers and writers in the 20th century and today fall within the category of "mythicists" as well.
Individuals who continued the mythicist position into the modern era include:
I myself have three published books specifically about the mythical nature of Jesus Christ, as well as other popular religious figures, while a fourth investigates the non-historical character of the gospels:
The first three texts in this list delve specifically into comparative religion and mythology, demonstrating that there is little original or "historical" about the Christ myth as a whole.
The last inspects the canonical gospels themselves to see whether they could possibly be considered reliable history.
These various approaches constitute the main planks of mythicism in a nutshell, which, again, often highlights the astrotheological origins of the myths, such as I demonstrate throughout my books, articles and ebooks, including:
A popular form of mythicism may be seen also in the first part of internet movie "ZEITGEIST," which purportedly has been viewed over 100 million times worldwide and for which my work served as a significant source.
Comedian and cultural commentator Bill
Maher's "Religulous" also touches upon the subject of the
Horus-Jesus comparisons, which serve as a significant basis for the
mythicist position and which can be found in my book Christ in
Indeed, the mythicist position importantly serves as a bridge between theism and atheism, as it does not seek to discount or denigrate the long and exalted history of thought concerning religion and mythology, dating back many thousands of years, as manifested in the religious and spiritual practices of man beginning millennia ago and continuing since then.
The pinnacle of mythicist cultures - more specifically those based on astro-theology - can be seen in the massive and mysterious civilization of Egypt, for example.
Rather than being ignored and dismissed, such wondrous creations should be explored and treasured as unique and glorious contributions to the overall human accomplishment.
One criticism as concerns the mythicist position is that it has not been taken seriously by mainstream academia because it is "absurd."
In the first place, what is more "absurd," accepting the fabulous fairytales of a particular culture as being "historical" without a shred of credible, scientific evidence, or suspecting these tall tales to be along the same lines as those of other cultures, such as the Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman, which are currently accepted as being myths?
When it comes to the gods of all other cultures, including those of the ancient religions and extending to those still in currency in "modern" faiths such as Hinduism, Christians and mainstream non-Christian and atheistic scholars alike are in agreement that these entities are myths.
...these are all myths.
Therefore, as concerns the non-biblical
characters in religions globally for eons, Christians and mainstream
scholars are mythicists. It is only the biblical figures who receive
special consideration and pleading. In reality, in dismissing
mythicism, Christian believers are in effect negating themselves.
Mythicism goes beyond the ceaseless theist-atheist debate, in fact, which is in the end futile, since cases for both perspectives can be and have been made ad infinitum, under a variety of circumstances, and since experience shows us that this discussion will never be resolved - except, indeed, in the mythicist position, which neither believes nor dismisses but which understands and appreciates humanity's longstanding interest in religion and spirituality.
The mythicist position does not necessarily accept religious traditions as being based in third-dimensional reality and history. Nevertheless, mythicism itself is rooted in reality and is an end product of free-thought and scientific endeavors as well as the recognition of profound human imagination and creativity.
The mythicist position allows us to create greater harmony by acknowledging and enjoying the similarities and differences in religious traditions founded upon valid evidence grounded in natural phenomena.