Mithras 3,000 BC - a dying, resurrected savior
Mithras was originally Persian. Before Rome. When the Christ myth was new Mithras and Mithraism were already ancient. Worshiped for centuries as God's Messenger of Truth, Mithras was long revered by the Persians (Zoroastrianism) and the Indians (see the Vedic literature).
A teaching moment.
I first wrote this page back the late 1990s. New to the subject, I was naive about Christian origins scholarship. I figured anybody who took the time to fill a book with hundreds of pages about Jesus would take the time to check the facts. My bad. Turns out Christian origins scholarship, amateur or academic, isn't given much to rigor.
When I tried to do what I though everyone did—check the facts—I discovered the "facts" here are not actually facts. They are earnest amateur legend, some of it repeated generation to generation back into the 1800s.
I'll clean this up at the end of the ongoing POCM rewrite. Rather than just take it down I've decided to leave it up for now, as an example of how well meaning amateurs can get tricked. Watch out. You could get tricked too, unless you rememvber.The essential rule of Christian origins scholarship: only believe facts confirmed in the ancient record.
In the meantime, these howlers in particular are not found in the ancient record.
In Persia Mithras fades into prehistory—3,000 BC
Plutarch (Pompey, 24, 7) and
Servilius (Georgics, 4, 127) say Pompey imported Mithraism into Rome after defeating the Cilician pirates around 70 BC.
Mithras appears epigraphically in the circles of the Roman emperor in the first century AD—around the time the canonical Christian Gospels were written (Corpus Incscriptionum Latinarum, 6, 732),
Statues of the God were present by 101 AD (Corpus Incscriptionum Latinarum, 6, 718).
As with Attis, Christian apologist Justin Martyr (1 Apologia, 66, 4) denounces the devil for having sent a God so similar to Jesus—yet preceding him.
Sadly there's a lot we don't know about this faith that comforted million of souls. Early Christians established the dominance of their religion by exterminating Mithras' faithful, razing His temples, burning His sacred texts.
We do know
He was buried in a tomb from which He rose again from the dead—an event celebrated yearly with much rejoicing.
Every year in Rome, in the middle of winter, the Son of God was born one more, putting an end to darkness. Every year at first minute of December 25th the temple of Mithras was lit with candles, priests in in white garments celebrated the birth of the Son of God and boys burned incense. Mithras was born in a cave, on December 25th, of a virgin mother.
He came from heaven to be born as a man, to redeem men from their sin. He was know as "Savior," "Son of God," "Redeemer," and "Lamb of God."
His followers kept the Sabbath holy, eating sacramental meals in remembrance of Him. The sacred meal of bread and water, or bread and wine, was symbolic of the body and blood of the sacred bull.
Baptism in the blood of the bull (taurobolium)—early
Baptism "washed in the blood of the Lamb"—late
Baptism by water [recorded by the Christian author Tertullian]
Mithraic rituals brought about the transformation and Salvation of His adherents—an ascent of the soul of the adherent into the realm of the divine. From the wall of a Mithraic temple in Rome: "And thou hast saved us by shedding the eternal blood."
The great Mithraic festivals celebrated His birth (at the winter solstice) and His death and resurrection (at the spring solstice)