Edward van der KaaijA Dutch theologian who was banned recently from appearing in a local Reform Church for saying that Jesus is a myth drawn from Egyptian religion has stated that he  has studied my book Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. Rev. Dr. Edward van der Kaaij ruffled many feathers when he publicly avowed what is called “Jesus mythicism,” making headlines around the Netherlands and other parts of Europe. In a private email reproduced here with his permission, Pastor van der Kaaij remarked:

Het boek van Murdock is een van mijn belangrijkste bronnen. Fantastisch boek!

Murdock’s book is one of my main sources. Fantastic book!

Beginning in December 2014, clergyman van der Kaaij rose to fame in a series of articles mostly in Dutch and German with such headlines as, “Jesus didn’t exist, but a ‘myth’, says banned pastor“:

Pastor Edward van der Kaaij is preaching that Jesus did not exist and that his story is a myth. The proclamation has gotten him banned from guest lecturing at a nearby Reformed Church.

“When someone reads Genesis 1 as a scientific explanation of how the world came into being, and concludes that the beginning was not about 13 billion years ago (as we know now) because the Bible states that it was about 70,000 years ago, then you do not properly understand the Bible,” explained van der Kaaij.

“The gospel is telling us a deeper truth, that goes far beyond the facts of life. That’s why I say: it did not happen like this and it is a fact that Jesus did not exist (I give a lot of proofs in my book to underline this).”

The book referred to by the pastor is one he published after seven years of studying, titled The Uncomfortable Truth of Christianity. The book was released last April and describes how all elements of the Biblical story of Jesus have their roots in a myth from ancient Egypt.

“Everyone is entitled to his opinion,” said Church Council Chairperson Meindert Zuur. “But there is no time for this during worship,” he continued.

“We got a lot of letters, emails and comments from concerned members,” explained Zuur.

The church is discussing the controversy with the pastor after hours, but is maintaining a united front in front of churchgoers. “You do not want to provoke conflict,” said Zuur.

The 62-year-old reformed pastor is aligned to the Vredeskerk (Peace Church) Nijkerk, where he is continuing to preach. Despite distressed reactions from worshipers, the church has not taken action against van der Kaaij.

“I am a Protestant and an important aspect of our belief is that the Bible is God’s Word (although written by men) and the starting point of our belief,” said van der Kaaij to NL Times. “So it is important to explain the Bible properly.”

The pastor describes his congregation as “enthusiastic” about his explanation of gospel. “The gospel gets more value when you read it according to what it is: a myth. Note that the word ‘myth’ does not have a negative meaning, on the contrary it is positive!”

“The deep truth is that Christ is deep in all of us. God created men by giving his breath, He incarnates in every human being. In that way Jesus Christ is the eternal reflection of God in all of us.”

The pastor does not think a lot has changed in his work. “I did not have to restructure my preaching [after the research], it went step by step. When I read an old sermon of mine, I see that I believe in a historical Jesus, but nothing of these “facts” play an important role.”

Van der Kaaij encourages those Christians who are offended by his revelations and work to read the book. “Many colleagues agree with me, not in the detail that Jesus did not exist…he was not of great importance during his life, only afterwards when the story of his life attained mythical proportions.”

“It’s not a mission of mine to convince others that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist,”, said van der Kaaij. “I advise ordinary people who feel happy in the belief they have with a man in mind who factually changed water into wine, calmed the storm and cured blind and deaf people as if he was a doctor to stick to that belief. But theologian need to study the bible properly and must be honest in what they find out. Happily many of them try to do that, I am only one of them.”

The Protestant Church of the Netherlands says the conundrum about the pastor is a local issue in NIjkerk and maintains claims on the historicity of Jesus.

In another article, “Jezus heeft nooit bestaan,” van der Kaaij remarks:

De historische Jezus heeft nooit bestaan… Alle elementen uit het verhaal van Jezus vinden hun oorsprong in het oude Egypte. Daar komt de oermythe vandaan van een God die mens wordt, van sterven en opstaan, van geboren worden op 25 december uit een maagd.

The historical Jesus never existed.. All the elements found in the story of Jesus originated in ancient Egypt. In addition, the primal myth comes from a god who is man, dying and rising, being born on December 25 of a virgin.

I would add that this primal myth can be found around the Mediterranean but is very well developed in Egypt, beginning at least 5,000 years ago, as can be found in my other books and writings.

van der Kaaij also recognizes this archetypal myth has having solar significance:

He has reached the conclusion that Jesus never existed as a historical person. Instead, he claims, all elements of His story do stem from old myths. Egypt is seen as the place of birth of these mythical stories about Jesus. The dying and rising deity is the kernal [sic] of the Osiris myth in Egypt, which originates out of the archetype of the sun: going down and rising every day….

“I endorse the theory that in Alexandria, once an important harbour city, the Jewish version of the old myth came into existence.”

(Source: Jesus: Myth or History? A Dutch Debate)

van der Kaaij theorizes that the apostle Paul came across these myths and used them to create the Jesus character, but my work shows that Paul’s contributions were minimal and that the real effort took place during the second century, long after he was dead. It was after the Gnostics of the second century had developed the “spiritual Jesus” found in the Pauline epistles that the effort was increasingly historicized and Judaized, specifically at Alexandria, Egypt. This development is described in detail in Christ in Egypt, in the chapter discussing the Egyptian Therapeuts near Alexandria.

Evemerism v. Mythicism

When van der Kaaij says the following, he is referring to euhemerists or evemerists, i.e., those who believe there is a historical figure somewhere under layers of fabulous fairytales in the gospel story:

“Many colleagues agree with me, not in the detail that Jesus did not exist…he was not of great importance during his life, only afterwards when the story of his life attained mythical proportions.”

Jesus holding Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus ConnectionIn reality, while there indeed may be very many euhemerists/ evemerists in Europe, there are also many mythicists who recognize that there is no historical core to the onion, once the mythological and midrashic layers are removed. Hence, it is best to frame this discussion not in terms of whether or not a Jesus existed, as there were plenty of them in antiquity. It is not, however, their story in the New Testament. Instead, we can say that the gospel story is myth historicized, not literal history or history mythologized. This declaration comes from the scientific study of pre-Christian religion, mythology and history around the Mediterranean and beyond, in which we find most of the same or similar attributes and elements within the myths of other deities, including those of Egypt.

This fact of biblical “borrowing” from Egypt can be found abundantly in my “fantastic book” Christ in Egypt, which draws from thousands of primary sources to show that the gods Osiris and Horus in particular were depicted in texts as possessing many characteristics in common with the later Judeo-Christian messiah.

Pastor van der Kaaij also states that many in his congregation are “enthusiastic” about his frank explanations of the Christ myth, reminding me of the story of Rev. Dr. Robert Taylor, a popular minister in the Church of England who was imprisoned twice in the 1820s for “blasphemy” after he preached Jesus mythicism from his pulpit.

Like Taylor, whose experience with the British legal system was so notorious and frightful that a young Charles Darwin wondered about his own fate, van der Kaaij has been assailed by his fellow clergymen who continue to uphold the supernatural gospel tale as “literal history,” despite the extensive body of evidence against that claim. Much of this evidence for Jesus mythicism can be found in my books, ebooks, articles, blogs, videos and radio programs.

Further Reading

Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Jesus didn’t exist, but a “myth”, says banned pastor
Predikant: Jezus heeft nooit bestaan
‘Jezus heeft nooit bestaan’
‘Historische Jezus heeft nooit bestaan’
Predigtverbot: Niederländischer Pfarrer zieht historischen Jesus in Zweifel
Preachers, priests quietly embrace the Christ myth
Jesus passage in Josephus a forgery, says expert
What is a mythicist?
Evemerism versus Mythicism
Christ in Egypt Reviewed by Dr. Robert M. Price
Robert M. Price: What I think of Acharya S/D.M. Murdock
Theologian: Bible’s angels are gods of Mesopotamia and Egypt who ‘come from the stars’

Christ is a mythical character