The primary aim of this investigation is to increase awareness of the fact that a debate over the reliability of the historical Jesus exists, that the evidence for Jesus is insufficient to prove a historical founder, and that a strong case can be made in favor of a mythological, literary character that was mistakenly assumed to be historical by later Christian converts. To that end, Jesus Potter Harry Christ begins by comparing the similarities between Jesus and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, and concludes that the only difference between the two is that Jesus has traditionally been regarded as historical. Rather than launching into dated arguments from Christ-Myth theory, Jesus Potter Harry Christ moves very slowly – establishing the historical basis and controversy surrounding the historical Jesus, analyzing the modern assumptions and pre-established beliefs, and re-examining critical evidence in the debate. Only after exploring and clearing away the history of the controversy, does it move into concrete parallels between Jesus Christ and earlier mythology and literature, which may have been assimilated into the Jesus tradition. Next, the book traces the universal source of many religious myths and symbols to astrology: the fact that Greeks and Romans identified all of the planets as gods, and believed that mythological figures and events were ‘placed in the heavens’ as constellations, gives this premise firm ground. Finally, Jesus Potter, Harry Christ concludes that the figure of Jesus Christ may have been a deliberate attempt to bridge Judaism and pagan thought, whose stories were embedded with historical details until a few believers actually began to think he was a real person.
These claims will be substantiated by a thorough examination of Pagan and Jewish sources, early Christian and Gnostic writings, biblical and apocryphal literature as well as corresponding religious art and sculpture. Moreover, I will demonstrate not only that the time was ripe for a deliberate creation of a Jewish national figure based on Pagan mystery gods, but also explore the astrological roots linking these pagan faiths and modern religious traditions. I will show how central symbolism from ancient spiritual mythologies continue to manifest themselves in popular fiction and literature. Finally, I will explore the exact process of how a pagan mystery cult assumed Jewish trappings and was eventually mistaken for a historical figure; a process that can be outlined entirely based on biblical texts.
Once we recognize that the stories, parables, deeds, words and stories told about Jesus in the gospel reflect older texts, we are faced with the very challenging task of trying to situate a historical founder of Christianity within or behind those tales associated with him. The most common approach, shared by both Christian and secular scholars, is that Jesus was a historical person upon which pagan tales and stories were naturally assimilated. I hope to demonstrate convincingly that this is a very weak position.
At the same time, I recognize that the idea of a historical Jesus Christ is so deeply ingrained in modern times that it is difficult to raise an alternative theory – one in which the savior figure of the gospels may not have been historical. To a large extent, this is due to the consequences of postmodernism and the dissolution of Objective Truth in favor of local narratives. The ‘failure’ of historical criticism, with the realization that each researcher projects their own meaning into the evidence, provides the illusion that any interpretation of history is possible, regardless of the corroborating evidence.
Unfortunately, this loose perception of history as immaterial and essentially meaningless has been applied to Christianity in order to safeguard its very insubstantial history from the voracious criticisms of rationalism. This, however, cannot be maintained, precisely because Christianity is a historical faith. More than any other religion, Christianity’s central tenets of faith are not supernatural, mystical creeds like “God is Love” or even “God Exists”. Christianity’s faith is fixed firmly upon its own historical foundation: that Jesus, the son of God, really and truly died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected.
This book is not meant as an attack on religion, on faith, on belief, or on God. It is simply an attempt to tell, perhaps for the first time ever, the actual history of the Christian Church – a history that is clearly discernible even after a millennium of misdirection and wishful thinking; a history that really happened, in one specific, concrete way, and can be reconstructed based on reliable evidence and testimony.
Incidentally, it should be pointed out that this book is not (unlike contemporary biblical scholars) concerned with trying to find some historical figure who was not named Jesus Christ but something else, and who did not do the things described in the gospels, but may have been somehow tenuously tied into the tradition that later became Christianity. Instead we are looking at the character of Jesus we know – the character fully proclaimed by the Bible, who has so much in common with Harry Potter – and asking whether the deeds and events ascribed to this Jesus really happened, and are thus distinct from other mythical/fictional characters like Harry Potter. Conversely, if it can be shown that the points of similarity are due to Christianity’s inclusion of literary symbolism from older spiritual traditions, then Jesus’ authenticity (and hence his separation from Harry Potter) dissolves. Our question then is not whether Jesus Christ existed, but whether the literary character recorded in the New Testament was primarily inspired by a historical figure or previous literary traditions and characters.
Although some of the ideas in this book have been raised before, all of the evidence and arguments are new. Moreover, Jesus Potter, Harry Christ provides answers that no other book on the subject has been able to provide: exactly how this transformation from myth to history occurred, why anyone would want to combine Judaism and pagan mythology, how followers of Jesus could believe so fervently in his existence to become martyrs, and how a movement as powerful and long-lasting as Christianity could have begun around a myth.
- The astronomical foundations for most religious symbolism
- The history of biblical criticism that led to modern perceptions of Jesus Christ
- The early church controversy about whether Jesus came “In the Flesh”
- Biblical evidence that Christianity was originally an initiation cult
- Why the martyrs were willing to die for Jesus Christ
- Figures from mythology that prefigured Christian motifs and symbols
- Pagan rituals, beliefs and customs that became entwined with Christian practice
- Exactly how Jesus developed from a literary construct into a historical figure
This book has 10 chapters. The introduction focuses on the background research, motivations and objectives of this study. The conceptual outline is presented, providing the groundwork and information that will be covered in later chapters.
Chapter One: Sacrificial Half Breed Warlocks – Harry Potter as Christ Figure.
Harry Potter and Jesus Christ are arguably the most famous icons of contemporary civilization. Their stories have been translated into dozens of languages and they each have found international support in many diverse cultures and communities. At first glance it may seem that J.K. Rowling’s young magician and the crucified Jesus prophet who became the Christian savior have absolutely nothing to do with one another – and yet the unease and sometimes outright animosity between the followers of these two figures argues otherwise. Just what is it about Harry Potter that Christians find so threatening? Moreover, how do Christians respond to the claim that Harry Potter and Jesus Christ actually share far more in common than is generally recognized?
Chapter Two: Doubting Jesus – Ancient and Modern Controversy. In order to explore the relationship between Jesus and Harry, it is crucial to identify whether the gospel stories of Jesus that appear similar to Rowling’s series are completely historical, or in part mythological. The claim that Jesus was mythological continues to be controversial and the debate is clouded by the pre-existing social assumptions surrounding the evidence for the historical Jesus. This chapter will explore the early church controversy challenging that Jesus appeared “in the flesh” and thoroughly trace the “three quests” for the historical Jesus.
Chapter Three: Where’s the Proof – An Overview of the Evidence and Arguments. Chapter Three investigates the reliability of the evidence used in defense of the historical figure of Jesus Christ. How much of the Jesus Christ of the gospels is a literary fiction – either created by Jewish scribes or adopted from pagan sources? How much of the text records historical testimony of the life and times of Jesus Christ, the man? Can archaeology or other sources prove the veracity of some parts of biblical narrative? Is there any historical evidence, either from within the Christian communities or without, that can support the idea of a historical Jesus? This chapter will seek to answer some of these questions.
Chapter Four: Going Pagan – The Forgotten Prefigures of Christ. After moving past the preconceptions about the historical Jesus, Chapter three will outline the ‘argument from similarity’, give descriptions of the major deities that have been compared to Jesus Christ, list Christian responses to the argument, and counter with ancient testimonies. Special attention will be paid to the timeline so that priority can be established. It will be proven that, contrary to general opinion, during this period there was a strong movement towards the synthesis and translation of religious expression, which even many Jews took part in.
Chapter Five: Jesus, the Lion King – Astrological Foundations and the Journey of the Sun God. Next we explore the astrological origins of the spiritual symbols that were preserved into pagan mythology and can be found also in Christian practice. It is demonstrated that astronomy has always been at the heart and root of religious experience, and that gods, heroes and mythical figures were blatantly and openly associated with constellations and planets in the classical world – so much so that our current names for those planets and constellations come from classical mythology. “Ascended into the heavens” meant, for most Greeks and Romans, that a hero had been transformed into a constellation after death. In Chapter Five, the claim is made that many of the biographical details of Jesus Christ actually come from various sun cult traditions, and that this was recognized by early Christians themselves. Moreover, many of our modern myths (Narnia, the Lion King, Peter Pan) preserve symbols from the same sun myth.
Chapter Six: Meeting Satan Again for the First Time – Draco and Creation Mythologies. Chapter Six will reconstruct a universal creation story, centering on the constellation Draco and its role in the development of afterlife theologies; it details the division of one singular divinity into individuals’ souls and, as such allows for the notion that souls may be reunited with divinity after death. (The link between the constellation Draco and spiritual symbols such as the yin-yang is completely unrecognized by scholars – but the connection can be established firmly.) This cosmology is found in 6th century BC Orphism and several other ancient sources; it is the Babylonian version of this creation myth which was persevered pretty much intact in the biblical story of the garden. Traces of this esoteric philosophy can even be found in very ancient Egyptian texts, and in the centuries just before the rise of Christianity, the belief was widespread and common to every spiritual school.
Chapter Seven: Jesus the Handsome Prince – Uniting with the Higher Self. Next, the various methods of ‘reunification’ or salvation are explored, strikingly similar in both Eastern and Western religions, and it is demonstrated that, although the interpretation of Christianity has evolved, the identical symbolism and language used place Christianity firmly within this universal spiritual tradition. This complex spiritual concept of salvation was taught using folklore and mythology; each culture adopted and updated the myth to make it accessible to its own community. It is preserved in many Greek myths, and also in modern re-tellings such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.
Chapter Eight: Abracadabra – The Magical Name and the Creation of the Jewish Mysteries. The purpose of this chapter will be to demonstrate that Christianity was originally a mystery religion; that it had different layers of meaning, and that only the higher level initiates were given the full understanding of their faith. This understanding of early Christianity will be crucial in explaining the communicative decay which finally led to the uniquely Christian revolution of viewing the divine logos as a historical person. After exploring the spiritual traditions of the mysteries, we can more easily identify Christianity as a mystery religion itself with various stages of initiation. This claim is supported with ancient testimonies and biblical quotes. It is hypothesized that the Jesus story was a Jewish construction based on a common and popular mythology designed to give Jews access into the robust cosmopolitan spirituality of the Greco-Roman world.
Chapter Nine: ‘Stupid Galatians’ – The Resurrection of the Flesh. In this chapter, I will demonstrate that a select group of Christians who had not been initiated in the higher mysteries began to develop independent theology around the stories of Jesus, believing him to be a historical figure. We will analyze the biblical writings of the Apostle Paul, whose letters preserve the exact state of communicative decay that lead to the literalist misinterpretation of the Jesus myth, and the revolution that his communities fostered against him when he tried to reveal the higher mysteries. Using biblical evidence, we will witness how new converts and initiates began to preach a historical, newly crucified and resurrected Jewish savior – without having heard the full message of revelation. Finally, we will see how these communities, who believed in a historical Jesus, developed a doctrine of ‘resurrection of the flesh’ in defense of their beliefs which set them firmly against the spirituality of their times.
Chapter Ten: From Mystery to History – Conflict and Martyrdom. Christianity’s unique claims – the Logos as a real, historical person and the resurrection of his followers in the flesh – were almost universally mocked by their contemporaries. The fact that this new mystery cult grew from hated and persecuted to the official religion of the Roman Empire in just a few centuries seems miraculous. In order to dispel the notion that the rise of Christianity can only be explained as divine providence, we need to identify the inherent features, as well as the external conditions, which forged the foundations of Christianity as a universal movement. In this chapter I will identify the main features that secured Christianity’s historical victory.
The book will end with a conclusion, summary and further reflections.