April 13, 2009

Zalmoxis, Jesus, and James McGrath

Posted in Atheism, The Bible tagged , , , , , at 5:05 pm by Andrew

In the comment section of a previous thread, there’s a bit of a discussion about the parallels (or lack thereof) between the Zalmoxis religion in ancient Thrace and the Jesus story.

Nathaniel argues, in part, that:

According to Herodotus, when Zalmoxis reappeared, nobody thought he had risen from the dead, since it was explained that he had just been hiding. According to the gospels, everyone who came to believe that Jesus was alive realized that this meant he had risen from the dead.

In a coincidence of timing, religion professor (and Christian) James McGrath has an excellent post up at his blog entitled “Celebrating Easter with the Doubting Disciples, detailing just who “came to believe that Jesus was alive,” even assuming that the Biblical accounts record actual events. The money quote:

Be that as it may, the point remains that Easter is not about historical certainty. In Matthew, it even explicitly includes doubt. And by making the day a day for celebrating certainty, we risk losing one of the most important steps that may help us to experience the “resurrection power” that drove early Christianity and has continued to transform lives down the ages.