Horus and Osiris vs Jesus
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Of all the pagan copycat candidates, Osiris and Horus are two that look if any to be a major threat. Egypt after all is not far from Palestine, and Jews did live in Egypt; it is not theoretically improbable that they could steal an idea for a Jesus from this place.

But did they? The field is rife with claims, but as usual there is a great deal of filching of Christian terms to describe Egyptian events (not all of it with bad intentions) and a great deal of non-citation of sources for fabulous claims.

That's quite a list, but let's make it simple to start: A good number -- at least half -- are so far as I have seen bogus. There has not been a shred of evidence for many of these in any book of Egyptian religion I have thus far consulted.

For convenience I begin by reproducing the "thumbnail sketch of Horus' life" given in Encyclopedia of Religions as offered by Miller, which also lays the groundwork for Osiris:

"In ancient Egypt there were originally several gods known by the name Horus, but the best known and most important from the beginning of the historic period was the son of Osiris and Isis who was identified with the king of Egypt. According to myth, Osiris, who assumed the rulership of the earth shortly after its creation, was slain by his jealous brother, Seth. The sister- wife of Osiris, Isis, who collected the pieces of her dismembered husband and revived him, also conceived his son and avenger, Horus. Horus fought with Seth, and, despite the loss of one eye in the contest, was successful in avenging the death of his father and in becoming his legitimate successor. Osiris then became king of the dead and Horus king of the living, this transfer being renewed at every change of earthly rule. The myth of divine kingship probably elevated the position of the god as much as it did that of the king. In the fourth dynasty, the king, the living god, may have been one of the greatest gods as well, but by the fifth dynasty the supremacy of the cult of Re, the sun god, was accepted even by the kings. The Horus-king was now also "son of Re." This was made possible mythologically by personifying the entire older genealogy of Horus (the Heliopolitan ennead) as the goddess Hathor, "house of Horus," who was also the spouse of Re and mother of Horus.
"Horus was usually represented as a falcon, and one view of him was as a great sky god whose outstretched wings filled the heavens; his sound eye was the sun and his injured eye the moon. Another portrayal of him particularly popular in the Late Period, was as a human child suckling at the breast of his mother, Isis. The two principal cult centers for the worship of Horus were at Bekhdet in the north, where very little survives, and at Idfu in the south, which has a very large and well-preserved temple dating from the Ptolemaic period. The earlier myths involving Hours, as well as the ritual performed there, are recorded at Idfu."



Now we get to the matters of Horus. Many of these have had some input from Miller, so we'll report those and add as needed.

On the Luxor Temple Carving

Many mythicists claim that on the walls of the Luxor Temple is a scene showing the "Annunciation, Immaculate Conception, Birth and Adoration of Horus, with Thoth announcing to the Virgin Isis that she will conceive Horus; with Kenph, the 'Holy Ghost,' impregnating the virgin," complete with three wise men. When pressed by an inquirer at her site about this claim, Acharya S said: "Isis is the constellation of Virgo the Virgin, as well as the Moon, which becomes a 'virgin' during when it is new. The sun god - in this case, Horus - is born of this Virgin goddess." -- and alludes to a document from the 6th century AD!

No substantiation is offered for the Isis-Virgo connection at all; it has no more authority than saying "Isis is Gomer the prostitute." If such a carving exists it is only what Acharya thinks it is via the interpretation of Massey.

A writer recently sent this description from an Egyptian tour site: "Kingship was believed to be ordained by the gods at the beginning of time in accordance with ma'at., the well-ordered state, truth, justice, cosmic order. The reigning king was also the physical son of the Creator sun-god. This divine conception and birth was recorded on the walls of Luxor Temple, at Deir el-Bahri, and other royal cult temples throughout Egypt. The king was also an incarnation of the dynastic god Horus, and when deceased, the king was identified with the father of Horus, Osiris. This living king was thus a unique entity, the living incarnation of deity, divinely chosen intermediary, who could act as priest for the entire nation, reciting the prayers, dedicating the sacrifices...

A peristyle forecourt of Amenhotep III is fused with the hypostyle hall, which is the first room in the inner, originally roofed, part of the temple. This leads to a series of four antechambers with subsidiary rooms. The Birth Room east of the second antechamber is decorated with reliefs showing the symbolic divine birth of Amenhotep III resulting from the union of his mother Mutemwiya and the god Amun.

The bark sanctuary includes a free-standing building added by Alexander the Great within the larger chamber created by Amenhotep III. Well-preserved reliefs show Amun's portable bark shrine and other scenes of the king in the presence of the gods. The sanctuary of Amenhotep III is the last room on the central axis of the temple."

This is significantly devoid of a virgin conception or birth, wise men, or a Holy Ghost. You might squeeze an adoration out of it, but who does not adore newborns anyway?

You can also find more about the Luxor temple carving from my book Shattering the Christ Myth.

  • His earthly father was named "Seb" ("Joseph"). Actually Seb was the earth-god, not "earthly," but rather the earth itself (as Nut was the sky), and he was O's dad, not Horus', though one of my helpful researchers tells me there is one version in which Horus was the son of Seb. And don't fall for the etymological trick or treat: You can't get from the name "Seb" to "Joseph" just by putting the names next to each other.
  • He was of royal descent. Obviously true, and Horus was often identified with the living Pharaoh, but so commonplace as to be meaningless.
  • At age 12 he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized, having disappeared for 18 years.
  • Was baptized in the river Eridanus or Iaurutana (Jordan) by "Anup the Baptizer" (John the Baptist) who was decapitated.
  • He had 12 disciples, two of whom were his "witnesses" and were named "Anup" and "AAn" (the two "Johns"). Egyptian religion scholars know of none of this. On this last Miller notes:
    ...my research in the academic literature does not surface this fact. I can find references to FOUR "disciples"--variously called the semi-divine HERU-SHEMSU ("Followers of Horus") [GOE:1.491]. I can find references to SIXTEEN human followers (GOE:1.196). And I can find reference to an UNNUMBERED group of followers called mesniu/mesnitu ("blacksmiths") who accompanied Horus in some of his battles [GOE:1.475f; although these might be identified with the HERU-SHEMSU in GOE:1.84]. But I cannot find TWELVE anywhere... Horus is NOT the sun-god (that's Re), so we cannot use the 'all solar gods have twelve disciples--in the Zodiac' routine here.]
  • He performed miracles, exorcized demons and raised El-Azarus ("El-Osiris") from the dead. Miller notes:
    Miracle stories abound, even among religious groups that could not possibly have influenced one another, such as Latin American groups (e.g. Aztecs) and Roman MR's, so this 'similarity' carries no force. The reference to this specific resurrection I cannot find ANYWHERE in the scholarly literature. I have looked under all forms of the name to no avail. The fact that something so striking is not even mentioned in modern works of Egyptology indicates its questionable status. It simply cannot be adduced as data without SOME real substantiation. The closest thing to it I can find is in Horus' official funerary role, in which he "introduces" the newly dead to Osirus and his underworld kingdom. In the Book of the Dead, for example, Horus introduces the newly departed Ani to Osirus, and asks Osirus to accept and care for Ani (GOE:1.490).
  • Horus walked on water. Not that I have found, but he was thrown in the water (see below).
  • His personal epithet was "Iusa" the "ever-becoming son" of "Ptah," the "Father." He was called the "Holy Child." Miller says:
    This fact has likewise escaped me and my research. I have looked at probably 50 epithets of the various Horus deities, and most major indices of the standard Egyptology reference works and come up virtually empty-handed. I can find a city named "Iusaas" [GOE:1.85], a pre-Islamic Arab deity by the name of "Iusaas", thought by some to be the same as the Egyptian god Tehuti/Thoth [GOE:2.289], and a female counterpart to Tem, named "Iusaaset" [GOE:1.354]. But no reference to Horus as being "Iusa"... ]
  • He delivered a "Sermon on the Mount" and his followers recounted the "Sayings of Iusa."
  • Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
  • He was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, was resurrected. None of these three can be found, either. On the last Miller writes:
    I can find no references to Horus EVER dying, until he later becomes "merged" with Re the Sun god, after which he 'dies' and is 'reborn' every single day as the sun rises. And even in this 'death', there is no reference to a tomb anywhere...

    I found in Budge one idea that Horus had died and been cast in pieces in the water, and his parts were fished out by Sebek the crocodile god at Isis' request. But that's a funny sort of baptism at best (see above). Another source notes a story where Horus is bitten by a snake and revived, which is still not much of a parallel.

  • Titles: Way, the Truth the Light; Messiah; God's Anointed Son; Son of Man; Good Shepherd; Lamb of God; Word made flesh; Word of Truth. I found thesed titles: [Bud.ERR, 78] Great God, Chief of the Powers, Master of Heaven, Avenger of His Father (since he beat up Set, who "killed" Osiris). He may have been called rightly "Son of Man" as the son of royalty (see here) but I have found no evidence for this.
  • Was "the Fisher" and was associated with the Fish ("Ichthys"), Lamb and Lion.
  • He came to fulfill the Law.
  • Was called "the KRST" or "Anointed One."
  • Was supposed to reign one thousand years. I have found no evidence for any of these last four.

    Conclusion: This one seems to be full of ringers. It remains to be seen if mythicists can document these claims.


  • Bud.ERR -- Budge, E. Wallis. . 1961.
  • Fraz.AAO -- Frazer, J. G. Adonis, Attis, Osiris. 1961.
  • Griff.OO -- Griffith, J. Gwyn. The Origins of Osiris and His Cult. Brill: 1996.
  • Meek.DL -- Meeks, Dimitri. Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods. 1996.
  • Short.EG -- Shorter, Alan. Egyptian Gods: A Handbook. 1937.