Jesus and Horus

Horus

Horus on wooden shrine

Earlier this week someone posted a graphic on my timeline from a group that claimed that the source for the story of Jesus Christ was actually derived from the Egyptian god, Horus.  The first startling claim was that both Horus and Jesus were born on December 25 and the image went on to list several other things they had in common.

An article by the Ontario consultants on the website, “Religious Tolerance” gives an extensive, 2 page list of claimed similarities: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa5b.htm

bullet Conception:

bullet God was his father. This was believed to be literally true in the case of Osiris-Dionysus; their God came to earth and engaged in sexual intercourse with a human. The father of Jesus is God in the form of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).
bullet A human woman, a virgin, was his mother.
bullet Birth:

bullet He was born in a cave or cowshed. Luke 2:7 mentions that Jesus was placed in a manger – an eating trough for animals. One early Christian tradition said that the manger was in a cave.
bullet His birth was prophesized by a star in the heavens.
bullet Ministry:

bullet At a marriage ceremony, he performed the miracle of converting water into wine.
bullet He was powerless to perform miracles in his home town.
bullet His followers were born-again through baptism in water.
bullet He rode triumphantly into a city on a donkey. Tradition records that the inhabitants waved palm leaves.
bullet He had 12 disciples.
bullet He was accused of licentious behavior.
bullet Execution, resurrection, etc:

bullet He was killed near the time of the Vernal Equinox, about MAR-21.
bullet He died “as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. 1
bullet He was hung on a tree, stake, or cross. 
bullet After death, he descended into hell.
bullet On the third day after his death, he returned to life.
bullet The cave where he was laid was visited by three of his female followers
bullet He later ascended to heaven.
bullet His titles:

bullet God made flesh.
bullet Savior of the world.
bullet Son of God.
bullet Beliefs about the God-man:

bullet He is “God made man,” and equal to the Father.
bullet He will return in the last days.
bullet He will judge the human race at that time.
bullet Humans are separated from God by original sin. The god-man’s sacrificial death reunites the believer with God and atones for the original sin

 

This continues on to another page: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa5d.htm

So how do the claims stack up against the facts?  Well, the part about Jesus and Horus being born on the same day is true.  What’s overlooked is that it’s a coincidence.  The Egyptian religion was pretty much dead at the time that Christian authorities declared December 25th to be Jesus’ birthday — which is actually based on being nine months from the feast of his conception day (March 25th).

* Horus is the son of a god AND a goddess (not a human woman.)
* Horus was born while his mother was in hiding.  No stars appeared.
* There was no prophecy about his birth.
* His birth was attended by his aunt, Nepthys — but not by anyone else.
* Horus never performed miracles.
* There was no tradition of baptism in any Egyptian religion.
* Horus didn’t have followers.
* Horus wasn’t accused of licentious behavior.
* Horus wasn’t killed.  His father, Osiris, was killed.
* None of the listed beliefs was anything that anyone believed about Horus or any Egyptian god.
* Horus was never resurrected.
* Horus isn’t the judge of the dead.  The dead are judged against the feather of Ma’at, and Anubis (not Horus) balances the scales.

The basic Horus myth is that his parents, Osiris and Isis, were two of the gods created by the god Amun.  Osiris’ brother, Set, was jealous of him and arranged his death.  Isis found her husband’s body and resurrected Osiris and at that point she was impregnated by Osiris.  She went into hiding to escape Set, and gave birth to Horus.  Horus as an adult avenged his father in combat and in trial before the gods.

About this blog

I am a lecturer at the Emeritus Program at Richland College in Garland, Texas.  I’m an anthropologist who’s always loved ancient cultures and love teaching others about interesting, unexpected, and delightful aspects of early civilizations — things that you never knew or that are sometimes misrepresented.

This blog was started for my Richland College Emeritus students to use, but quickly turned into a website for friends who were also interested in these topics.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive site, because the history of each of these ancient civilizations is such a vast field that assembling all those publications and all that data is simply impossible for one person.

The images on this site are photos taken by me while visiting the Egyptology collections of several different museums.