Was there a real Jesus who lived on Earth?

By: Jaime T. Licauco: Philippine Daily Inquirer. However, it cannot be denied that centuries before the advent of Jesus, there were already pagan beliefs in dying and resurrecting god-men, which paralleled the story of Jesus as depicted in the Gospels adopted by the early Christians in 320 A.D., during the reign of Emperor Constantine. These beliefs preceded Christianity by at least 600 years.
British authors Timothy Freke, a philosophy and religious scholar, and Peter Gandy, a classics scholar, did in-depth research into the earlier beliefs in dying and resurrecting god-men among the pagan religions and discovered, to their initial shock, that the story of Jesus was not unique at all but could even be said to be an adaptation of much older pagan stories.
Striking resemblances
In their 1999 book entitled “The Jesus Mysteries,” Freke and Gandy reconstructed the story of the god Osiris-Dionysus from various pagan beliefs in a dying and resurrecting god-men. These stories, which were circulating way before Jesus appeared on Earth had a striking resemblance to his life, to wit:
1. Osiris-Dionysus is God made flesh and called the savior and the son of God.
2. His father is God and his mother a mortal virgin.
3. He is born in a cave on Dec. 25 before three shepherds.
4. He offers his followers the chance to be born again through rites similar to baptism.
5. He dies at Easter time as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
6. After his death, he descends into hell, and on the third day he rises from the dead.
7. He ascends to heaven in glory.
8. His followers await his return as the judge during the last days.
9. His death and resurrection are celebrated by a ritual meal of bread and wine.
I may add here that a small gold coin dating back to pre-Christian Roman era was found by archaeologists. It depicted an image of a crucified man, but the caption read “Osiris- Dionysus.”
As expected, not everybody agreed with Freke and Gandy. Chris Forbes, an ancient historian and senior lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has criticized their work and said that Freke and Gandy “are not real scholars, they are popularizers.”

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