In this chapter of Jesus Potter Harry Christ Derek Murphy argues that Christianity began as a mystery religion formed as a Jewish synthesis of Greek and Egyptian mystery cult traditions. It had different levels of meaning, with only the higher initiates being given full understanding of their faith.
The first two sections of this book have attempted to demonstrate that much of the symbolism and motifs in the Bible were appropriated by early Christian writers from external sources and added into the story of Jesus Christ. The material provided so far, however, while noteworthy and significant, may still be dismissed as speculative research or inference . . . .
Therefore we have to show that Christians did interpret, in the beginning, their savior and his ministry in identical terms; i.e. as spiritual allegory rather than historical fact. We will need to respond to the objection that Jews would never have become involved in pagan mystery cults or idolatry. More importantly, we have to demonstrate how the story of Jesus was created, for what reason, and by whom. We will do this in Chapter Eight. (pp. 177-8)
Murphy first discusses the nature of ancient mystery religions. read more