This post will tackle and interesting topic for traditional Christians and mystics alike: can we establish— through credible evidence—that the story of Jesus was influenced by Horus, the Egyptian sky / sun-god? For those of you waiting on part 3 of the Joseph narrative, I’ll have it posted on the upcoming weekend. In the meantime I thought it would be fun to post something a little different to start off the New Year.
Many sites floating around on the web are making the claims below:
1) Horus and Jesus were born of virgin
2) Horus’ father’s name was Seb / Geb, which correlates with Joseph.
3) Both were born at the winter solstice, perpetuating the sun-god / savior narrative
4) Both Jesus and Horus’s births were announced by a star in the east and attended by three wise men/ kings.
5) Horus was baptized by “Anup the Baptizer” while Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.
6) Both performed miracles and both raised a Lazarus-type figure (Horus raised El-azar-us) from the dead
7) Both walked on water
8) Both had 12 disciples
9) Both were the light of the world
10) Horus was called the KRST, and when adding the vowel you get KRIST, which becomes Christ in Greek
Are there any truths to these claims? Of course not, at least not directly. Does this mean that the Jesus narrative really isn’t a repackaged version of the Horus narrative? Again the answer is no because it most definitely is.
How can I make that statement if there isn’t any direct evidence? Simple. While there are no direct correlations between Jesus and Horus, there are so many subtle ones that I can say with absolute confidence that our Jesus narrative was influenced by Egyptian myth. After this post I believe most of you will come to the same conclusion.
The problem with most scholars is that they only look for obvious, direct, correlations between Jesus and Horus; it is not their job to find subtle similarities and then build an entire theory on them. Regular internet Skeptics, on the other hand, usually dismiss links between the two because they fail to understand how complicated Egyptian mythology really was. They fail to see all the subtle evidence that provides enough information that when taken collectively, overwhelmingly supports the correlation. This becomes especially true when you realize that religious icons morph into many different deities and roles over time. This is the case with the hundreds of Egyptian Gods who had many more thousands of years of development than Christianity.
Let’s dissect the 10 comparisons between Jesus and Horus that I made above. I will admit that point number 2 will be only a weak correlation, and point 7 will be completely false. But in the rest of them I am going to show you how we can find subtle links by digging a little deeper than what most are willing to do. And of course at our conclusion I will also emphasize an encouraging thought embodied in the spirit of this blog: all these religious narratives are really about us anyway!
I want to begin by pointing out a very curious Bible Scripture.
“Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no God but me: for there is no savior beside me.” (Hosea 13:4).
Please keep this Bible scripture in the back of your mind as you read the 10 comparisons below.
1) Was Horus really born of a virgin?
You will not find any Egyptian sources telling you that Horus was born of a virgin. You have to dig a little deeper. A little bit about Horus:
His mother was Isis and his father was Osiris. Osiris was killed and dismembered. Isis then used magic to bring all the body parts of Osiris her husband back together again, but she couldn’t find his phallus. Isis then made a substitute phallus from clay and reeds, revived Osiris, and then copulated with him, eventually giving birth to a firstborn son who would become king of the world. I have seen so many skeptics say this is not a virgin birth. Then what is it? That Osiris copulated with a resurrected corpse containing a magically created penis to get pregnant is definitely no average birth. Virgin birth or not; the idea is still the same: both were miraculous births heralding the future king of the world. The births are related because they both represent a spiritual concept, not a physical one! In neither story are we talking about literal people or Gods. When Isis copulated with Orisis’ magically created phallus she was in the form of a hawk hovering over him. Think of the Holy Spirit hovering on the face of the waters in Genesis chapter 1 during creation. So for all the skeptics who try and disprove that the Jesus story had any similarity to Egyptian Gods I would say that you must learn to look beyond the literal surface meaning of all texts. Last but not least, perhaps we have more of a direct link to a virgin birth than skeptics would like to admit. Dr. G. Johannes Botterweck, professor of Old Testament and Catholic Theology at the University of Bonn, has stated:
“It is interesting that Isis is addressed as hwn.t in a sarcophagus oracle that deals with her mysterious pregnancy. In a text in the Abydos Temple of Seti I, Isis herself declares: “I am the great virigin…”
2) What about Horus’ father? Was his name Seb (Geb), and does this translate to Jospeh?
This can be confusing. Most critics will declare that Seb was Horus’ grandfather since Seb is the father of Osiris. This is true. But most skeptics miss something of vital importance: just as Jesus and the Father are really ONE, so it was for Osiris and Horus. Originally Horus was the sky god represented as a falcon, but in time he became a solar deity like his father Osiris. I will quote from the Egyptian Book of the Dead:
“I am the Prince in the Field,
I am Osiris.
I am Horus and Ra,
One with Osiris.”
Wikipedia also states, “Different forms of Horus are recorded in history, and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists…Horus served many functions in the Egyptian pantheon, most notably being the god of the sun, war and protection.”
Consider another passage from the Egyptian Book of the Dead:
“…I am Horus…I may be in the body of my father Geb…”
As I said earlier in the article, deities evolve over time. It’s not as simple as saying A is not related to B because there is no direct link. Only someone who has their own agenda and preconceived notion about what they want to believe would say such a thing without first thoroughly investigating. With that being said, there are a few indirect correlations between “Seb / Geb” and Joseph. Seb / Geb was the earth God. Although God the Father was Jesus’ spiritual father, Joseph was his earthly father. I have already admitted that this correlation is the weakest. So weak, in fact, I was tempted to throw it out all together.
3) Both Horus and Jesus were born at the winter solstice, symbolizing the sun.
This one is a definite yes. We know Jesus was born right after the winter solstice, symbolizing the rising of new life just as the sun begins its ascent higher into the sky each day towards spring. The ancient historian Plutarch tells us that Horus was born around the winter solstice too. A lot of critics get tripped up here because they don’t realize Jesus was a sun-god as well.
4) Was Horus’s birth announced by a star and accompanied by three kings or wise men?
This one is also easily established. In order to understand this point you must familiarize yourself with the constellation of Orion since the Hunter are the three stars that make up his belt. The Christian astronomer Elijah Burritt has stated:
“They are sometimes denominated the Three Kings, because they point out the Hyades and Pleiades on one side, and Sirius, or the Dog-star, on the other. In [the Biblical book of] Job they are called the Bands of Orion.”
Barbara Walker, author of The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, has stated:
“Osiris’s coming was announced by Three Wise Men: the three stars Mintaka, Anilam, and Alnitak in the belt of Orion, which point directly to Osiris’s star in the east, Sirius…”
We have already mentioned that Osiris and Horus are somewhat interchangeable as Egyptian religion progressed over thousands of years. It’s easy to see then how Jesus’ birth with an eastern star and 3 wise men came from the events of Osiris’s and Horus’s lives.
A lot of critics will point out that the Bible doesn’t say there are three wise men. No offense to the critics, but this is a laughable argument. Every nativity scene across America contains three wise men. Why? Because three gifts were given. Even my six year-old is familiar with this scene from school and will tell you there were 3 wise men. This Bible doesn’t need to state it. It’s understood from tradition itself!
5) Was Horus really baptized by “Anup the Baptizer?”
The short answer to this is no, he wasn’t. But it doesn’t matter. Instead of talking about Anup, we should be focusing on the Egyptian God Anubis. It is with him that we find our correlation. Anubis had many different roles throughout the history of Egypt. One notable role was that he served as a ferryman who guided souls through the watery-night sky. Just as the Genesis author, the ancient Egyptians viewed the firmament divided by waters. Of course these are not supposed to be literal waters.
Anubis also met the deceased after coming off the river Hades to help them to the hall of the Two Truths. As such, Anubis served as the one who helped the soul make a transition into something more glorious. The Christian Egyptians, also known as Copts, had similar stories. Dr. Wallis Budge, author of The Mummy: A Handbook of Egyptian Funerary Archeology, writes on page 466:
“…John Chrysostom tells us that our Lord gave to John the Baptist a boat of gold, which he was to use in transporting the souls of the righteous over the river of fire in Amente.”
Something else you might find interesting is that James Bonwick, author of Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought (page 120), states:
“Anubis was…known as the “Preparer of the Way of the Other World.”
As you well know, John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ.
6) Did both Jesus and Horus perform miracles, and did Horus raise El-azar-us from the dead?
To answer the first question, yes, both performed miracles. As to the second question, it’s also easy to make the connection. You will not find any evidence that Horus raised someone named El-azar-us from the dead. But there’s no need. To see the real connection between Christ resurrecting Lazarus and Egyptian myth you only have to view an ancient Egyptian text that explains the mythical resurrection of Osirius (Horus’ father) by Horus himself. I found an excellent comparison of the Egyptian texts and the Gospel of John laid out side by side for you HERE. Please click on that link and it will blow you away.
7) Both Horus and Jesus walked on water. This statement is false. It would seem the writers of the Horus-Jesus comparison got overzealous here. Maybe someone will correct me here and show a correlation I have not discovered?
8) Did Horus really have 12 disciples?
Yes. Here is the proof in the picture below. According to Erik Hornung, author of The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife, the picture below represents, “Horus enthroned before theTwelve.”
9) Were both Horus and Jesus considered the “Light of the world?
Yes. Horus was the light of the world represented by the single eye. Jesus is depicted as the same. As you know from my other posts, Jesus also made a reference to the single eye that sometimes represents Horus. You can find more info on that HERE.
10) Were Jesus and Horus both known as the Christ?
Again the answer is yes, however you will find the correlation in ancient Egypt with the K-R-S-T. Many skeptics will point out that “KRST” is not a title. Rather, it is the word for “burial” and has been put on ancient Egyptian coffins. They are right. The other interesting point that skeptics bring up is that KRST does not mean “anointed” like Christ does in Greek. Again, they are right. So where is the connection? The entire process of mummification has to do with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Christ. Although KRST wasn’t a title in ancient Egypt meaning anointing, mummies were nevertheless anointed with the most expensive embalming oils. Even Jesus was anointed with these oils after his crucifixion by the women closely associated with him in life. Mark 16:1 states,
“And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week (SUN-day), they came unto the sepulcher at the rising of the sun.” (Mark 16:1-2). I hope you noticed the imagery there. We have already noted that Egyptologists state Horus was a sun-god. So was Jesus. See my article HERE for more information about Jesus as the sun god.
How can this knowledge help us?
The skeptics are right in saying that there aren’t direct correlations to all the comparisons with Horus and Jesus at the beginning of this article, but it would be foolish to dismiss it altogether.
In my opinion, the Jesus narrative is a more compacted and better developed death, burial and resurrection story of the savior god-man simply because it had the chance to develop in the Roman Empire under the direction of the emperor and the Church Fathers. When Constantine made Christianity a legally recognized religion, competing religions and claims were stamped out and eventually the main gist of the Christian narrative we have today was fleshed out under strict supervision.
I think it is important for us to realize that by focusing on comparing Jesus to Horus directly, we miss the entire point of the Gospel stories and those represented in Egyptian mythology. The real message behind both stories is about us! The death, burial, and resurrection of the savior god-man was simply to show us how to be born again (a spiritual rebirth) while living on this earth before death. And that is what this blog tries to embody through most, if not all, of its articles.
Blessings! Part 3 of our Joseph narrative will be posted soon.