Ancient Salvation Cults
(Top Posts - History - 061403)

While searching in Earl's "The Jesus Puzzle" website, I noticed the following exhaustive treatment of the Josephus issues which many might find of interest being that Josephus is referenced as an independent source of the supposed existence of the biblical / quranic Jesus: Supplementary Article No. 10 : Josephus Unbound, Reopening the Josephus Question.

As for the christian salvation mythos, Earl addresses that in detail in the following: Supplementary Article No. 7 : Transfigured on the Holy Mountain, The Beginnings of Christianity.

Key excerpts regarding salvation cults at a website review of "The Jesus Puzzle":

  • There is simply no reflection in the earliest Christian texts of any "life of Christ" as a human being, divine or otherwise. To the rational mind, this fact would serve as real proof that Jesus Christ is a fictional character imposed upon history, in reality representing the disincarnate Savior of the ancient, pre-Christian salvation cults. Indeed, the epistle writers and other early Christian authorities speak almost exclusively of a phantom or gnostic Christ of the same type of dying and rising savior gods found in the Pagan mysteries for centuries, if not millennia, prior to the Christian era.

  • Doherty recognizes that, prior to the advent of Christianity, many of the same religious concepts were found within these salvation cults located ubiquitously around the "known world." The salvation cults were indeed the wellspring of Christianity, which represents the conglomeration of most of the cults, religions, sects, mystery schools and secret societies within the Roman Empire and beyond.

    In fact, Christianity turned inside out the salvation cult mysteries, which constituted a "mythos and ritual" passed down orally for centuries, as well as added to, changed, and "improved upon" as new "doctors of the faith" rose up through the ranks of the mystery schools and secret societies. In reality, Christianity represents a divulgence of these secrets, explaining the persecution of early Christians as initiates who broke their blood oath not to reveal them. Indeed, these schools and societies were infiltrated by those who felt no duty to such an oath, and who then pretended that these ages-old mysteries were a "divine revelation" to them.

  • Concerning the religious environment of the world at the time, Doherty says:

    "Christianity and other Jewish apocalyptic sects, more mainstream Jewish proselytizing activities, various pagan salvation cults, all had their apostles trampling the byways of the empire, offering brands of redemption and future exaltation for the individual believer. By the middle decades of the first century, the world . . . was a 'seething mass of sects and salvation cults,' operating amid a broader milieu of ethical and philosophical schools only a little less emotionally conducted."

  • In addition, Doherty states:

    "A rich panoply of Son/Christ/Savior expression was rampant across the eastern half of the Roman empire by the late first century. Considering that Christian writers even in the early second century show no familiarity with the Gospel story, it seems ill-advised to trace all these ideas to an historical Jesus of Nazareth who died obscurely in Jerusalem and whose career on earth is not even preserved by those who allegedly turned him into the Son of God.