This post belongs to a series of chapter by chapter reviews archived here.
I have yet to read the pioneering Christ myth arguments of the eighteenth century French savants Dupuis and Volney who, I understand, argued that Jesus Christ was based on astrological, in particular solar, myths. So I looked forward to Derek Murphy’s chapter 5 where he (re-)introduces astrological arguments purportedly underlying the Gospel Jesus myth.
This chapter of Jesus Potter Harry Christ turned out to be a mixed bag for me. I’ll give the good stuff first. This is from the second page of the chapter, with the underlining and bold being my own emphasis:
While I will not claim that Jesus Christ is just a sun myth or solar deity, I hope to demonstrate that certain symbols and motifs found in Christianity can only be fully explained after exploring this ancient tale of the sun’s journey. I will also establish that at least some early Christian communities associated Jesus with the sun (or previous solar deities) and deliberately incorporated astrological symbolism into their texts, rituals and practices. (p. 186)
Most biblical scholars would acknowledge that there is much mythology bound up with the Jesus tales in the canonical gospels, and Murphy himself reminds readers that to this extent there is nothing radically new about the grounds upon which the question of Jesus’ historicity can be asked. read more