“For ‘the Sun of Righteousness,’ who drives His chariot over all, pervades equally all humanity…”
Church father Clement of Alexandria (Exhortation 11)
“The result of the Church’s encounter with the sun-cults of antiquity was nothing less than the dethronement of Helios.”
Dr. Hugo Rahner, Greek Myths and Christian Mystery (93)
In my books and articles, I present the evidence that many aspects of the gospel story about Jesus Christ, and of Christian tradition in general, represent motifs from older astrotheology and solar mythology, specifically reflecting legends and myths regarding the sun gods of antiquity. There remains much confusion concerning this subject, including erroneous claims that this equation of Jesus with the sun only started to be expressed during the 19th century. This contention that connecting Jesus to the sun constitutes a “modern” phenomenon is easily demonstrated to be false, through the study of ancient texts, including the Bible and works of the early Church fathers, as well as Christian traditions, rituals, architecture and artifacts. From a wide variety of sources, it is clear that associating, identifying and equating Christ with the sun began in ancient times and has continued abundantly over the many centuries since then.
The exploration of Christ as a solar figure includes a study of ancient sun worship not only in the Pagan world but also in Israel, as exhibited by the solar nature of Jesus’s purported Father, the Israelite god Yahweh. Demonstrating the copious substantiation for Israelite sun worship, especially as concerns the main Jewish god, in Yahweh and the Sun: Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel, Rev. Dr. J. Glen Taylor, a theologian and professor of Old Testament and Biblical Proclamation at Wycliffe College, remarks:
“This book is a slightly revised version of my doctoral dissertation entitled ‘Solar Worship in the Biblical World’ which was submitted to the Graduate School of Yale University in the Spring of 1989. As may be judged from the title of that work, I had at one time planned to cover more territory than sun worship in ancient Israel, but found the material pertaining to ancient Israel so vast that I never got beyond it.” (Taylor, 7)
The description of Yahweh and the Sun states, “This challenging provocative book argues that there was in ancient Israel a considerable degree of overlap between the worship of the sun and of Yahweh – even that Yahweh was worshipped as the sun in some contexts.” (Emphasis added.) As Rev. Dr. Taylor further says:
“Probably the most provocative issue related to the nature of sun worship in ancient Israel…is the specific claim that Yahweh was identified with the sun.” (Taylor, 20)
In his tome, Taylor discusses Yahweh as a sun god – terming this adulation “solar Yahwism” – as reflected in the sun worship by Israelites described in the biblical texts of Deuteronomy, the Prophets, Job and the Psalms. He also addresses linguistic evidence as well as various archaeological finds that reveal Israelite sun worship, including artifacts such sun disks and temple/shrine alignments.
In the present analysis of Judeo-Christian astrotheological underpinnings, let us start therefore with the Old Testament, in which God is depicted as the creator of and power behind the sun, thus making the solar orb an expression of the Lord’s divinity – a notion that was not lost on the Israelitish peoples.
In the book of Job, traditionally considered one of the oldest texts in the Bible, we find God reiterated as the power behind the sun, as at 9:7, which refers to him “who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars…” Job contains other astronomical, astrological or astrotheological knowledge, as in the discussion of the “Mazzaroth” or Zodiac at 38:22:
“Can you lead forth the Maz’zaroth in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children?”
Strong’s Concordance (H4216) defines mazzaroth or mazzarah as “the 12 signs of the Zodiac and their 36 associated constellations.” The “Bear with its children” refers to the constellation of Arcturus or Ursa Major and the three stars in its tail. (McClintock, 381)
With such a sacred origin and with the pervasiveness of the astrotheological religion of their neighbors, Israelite sun worshipping understandably became prevalent, so much so that the biblical writers proscribe it on several occasions, such as at Deuteronomy 4:19:
“And beware lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and worship them and serve them, things which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.”
Yet, these celestial bodies possess divine origins, as it is God who has “allotted to all peoples” the “host of heaven,” including “the sun and the moon and the stars.”
At Deuteronomy 17:2-3, we read further about Israelites “whoring after” sun worship and astrotheology:
“If there is found among you, within any of your towns which the LORD your God gives you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing his covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden…”
The Israelites, however, cannot stop their sun worshipping, which is engaged in even by the kings and priests, and which must be suppressed, as at 2 Kings 23:5:
“And he deposed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places at the cities of Judah and round about Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Ba’al, to the sun, and the moon, and the constellations, and all the host of the heavens.”
The continual Israelite/Hebrew/Jewish sun worship is logical, when we read at Psalms 84:11:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield.”
The Israelite reverence of the sun was so intense that by Jeremiah’s era (c. 625-565 BCE), the Jewish kings, princes, prophets and general inhabitants of Jerusalem continued to be portrayed as loving, serving and worshipping the host of heaven, including the sun and moon:
“At that time, says the LORD, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its princes, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth.” (Jer 8:1-2)
Despite this apparent desecration of Jewish bones evidently because of astrotheological practices, Ezekiel (c. 586 BCE) related that the Israelites/Hebrews/Jews continued to worship the sun, as at 8:16:
“And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD; and behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east, worshiping the sun toward the east.”
In this scripture, it is not just the common people but the very priests themselves who are engaging in sun worship.
As concerns the prevalence of solar Yahwism in ancient Israel, Dr. J. Glen Taylor concludes:
“Several lines of evidence, both archaeological and biblical, bear witness to a close relationship between Yahweh and the sun. The nature of that association is such that often a ‘solar’ character was presumed for Yahweh. Indeed, at many points the sun actually represented Yahweh as a kind of ‘icon.’ Thus, in at least the vast majority of cases, biblical passages which refer to sun worship in Israel do not refer to a foreign phenomenon borrowed by idolatrous Israelites, but to a Yahwistic phenomenon which Deuteronomistic theology came to look upon as idolatrous…. an association between Yahweh and the sun was not limited to one or two obscure contexts, but was remarkably well integrated into the religion of ancient Israel.” (Taylor, 257)
Hence, the sun was worshipped by the Israelites, who associated it with their tribal god Yahweh. Like Father, like son, and the connection between Jesus and the sun is first evidenced in the OT book of Malachi (4:2), which immediately precedes the New Testament and in which the author refers to the “Sun of Righteousness” who will “arise with healing in his wings.” This scripture, which is in the last chapter before the Gospel of Matthew, sounds much like the winged solar disc of Babylon and Egypt.
“The Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.”
This scripture in Malachi is perceived as a reference to the coming messiah, Jesus Christ. In this regard, this clearly solar appellation “Sun of Righteousness” is repeated many times by early Church fathers as being applicable to Christ.
New Testament Solar Imagery
In the Gospel of Luke (1:78), Christ’s very advent is depicted as a visitation from the “dayspring on high”: “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us…” The word for “dayspring” or “day” in the original Greek is ἀνατολή or anatole, which means “sunrise, east.” In reference to this scripture, Rev. Matthew Henry states:
“Christ is the Morning Light, the rising Sun, Mal. 4:2.” (Jenkins, 417)
Christ’s solar imagery continues in the New Testament, as at John 1:9: “The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.” The “true light” is also discussed at John 8:12:
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus’s role as the “light of the world” and “Sun of Righteousness” is elucidated at Matthew 17:2:
“And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.”
In the book of Revelation (1:7), we read about Jesus: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him,” much like the material sun.
As it was in Matthew, the face of Christ as the sun is likewise revealed at Revelation 1:16:
“…in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.”
Jesus’s astrotheological nature is further indicated at Revelation 22:16, in which he is equated with the “bright morning star”:
“I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
The “bright morning star” is typically said to be the planet Venus, but it could also refer to the sun itself.
To paraphrase New Testament sentiment concerning Christ:
“I am the light of the world that every eye will see.”
If every eye can see this “light of the world,” it is understandable that many individuals in ancient time believed Jesus Christ to be the solar orb itself, as they had with numerous gods preceding his purported advent. It is not only natural but logical that thousands of people in the earliest days of Christianity would have believed Christ to be the same as the gods they were already worshipping, the bulk of which possessed solar attributes and were often considered to be sun gods to a significant extent.
The Ancient Astrotheological Religion
In this regard, the early Christian Church fathers were quite cognizant of the astrotheological nature of other religions, remarking, for instance, as does Church father Tertullian (fl. 190-220) concerning the Egyptians (Ad Nationes, II, 2): “Most of the Egyptians believe that there are four gods – the Sun and the Moon, the Heaven and the Earth.” (Roberts, ANCL, XI, 457.) In the same book (Ad Nationes, II, 5), Tertullian further demonstrates his knowledge of the astrotheology of the ancients:
“On this account, men have accounted as gods – the sun, because it imparts from itself the light of day, ripens the fruit with its warmth, and measures the year with its stated periods; the moon, which is at once the solace of the night and the controller of the months by its governance; the stars also, certain indications as they are of those seasons which are to be observed in the tillage of our fields; lastly, the very heaven also under which, and the earth over which, as well as the intermediate space within which, all things conspire together for the good of man.” (Roberts, ANF, III, 133.)
In his “Sermon 27: On the Feast of the Nativity, VII,” Pope Leo the Great (c. 400-461) adamantly criticizes the prevalent nature worship and astrotheology, which he states was engaged in by both Pagans and Christians:
“IV. The foolish practice of some who turn to the sun and bow to it is reprehensible
“From such a system of teaching proceeds also the ungodly practice of certain foolish folk who worship the sun as it rises at the beginning of daylight from elevated positions: even some Christians think it is so proper to do this that, before entering the blessed Apostle Peter’s basilica, which is dedicated to the One Living and true God, when they have mounted the steps which lead to the raised platform, they turn round and bow themselves towards the rising sun and with bent neck do homage to its brilliant orb. We are full of grief and vexation that this should happen, which is partly due to the fault of ignorance and partly to the spirit of heathenism: because although some of them do perhaps worship the Creator of that fair light rather than the Light itself, which is His creature, yet we must abstain even from the appearance of this observance: for if one who has abandoned the worship of gods, finds it in our own worship, will he not hark back again to this fragment of his old superstition, as if it were allowable, when he sees it to be common both to Christians and to infidels?
“V. The sun and moon were created for use, not for worship…” (Schaff, NPNF, XII, 140.)
It is important to emphasize that Pope Leo specifically relates that “even some Christians think it is so proper to do this,” referring to the worship of the sun!
Church Father Tertullian (fl. 190-220)
As early as the late second century, Tertullian was forced repeatedly to address the claim that Christianity itself represented sun worship. Tertullian’s discussion of purported Christian sun worship was so clear that under its entry for “Tertullian” the Catholic Encyclopedia says:
“The ‘Ad nationes’ has for its entire object the refutation of calumnies against Christians [such as] You say we worship the sun; so do you.” (CE, XIV, 521.)
In Ad Nationes (I, XIII, 1), Tertullian writes:
“THE CHARGE OF WORSHIPPING THE SUN MET BY A RETORT.
“Others, with greater regard to good manners, it must be confessed, suppose that the sun is the god of the Christians, because it is a well-known fact that we pray towards the east, or because we make Sunday a day of festivity.” (Roberts, ANCL, XI, 449-450.)
In the same book, Tertullian says to the Pagans (paraphrased by CE in the same place): “…your gods are images made on a cross framework, so you worship crosses.”
In his Apology against the Heathen (XVI), Tertullian likewise discusses the Pagan veneration of the cross, as well as the belief that Christians were sun worshippers:
“…But ye worship victories also, when, in your triumphs, crosses form the inside of the trophies. The whole religion of the camp is a worshipping of the standards above all the gods. All those rows of images on your standards are the appendages of crosses; those hangings on your standards and banners are the robes of crosses…. Others certainly, with greater semblance of nature and of truth, believe the sun to be our God. If this be so, we must be ranked with the Persians; though we worship not the sun painted on a piece of linen, because in truth we have himself in his own hemisphere. Lastly, this suspicion ariseth from hence, because it is well known that we pray towards the quarter of the east. But most of yourselves too, with an affectation of sometimes worshipping the heavenly bodies also, move your lips towards the rising of the sun…” (Dodgson, 38.)
Naturally, Tertullian wished to deny that Christians are sun worshippers, but the charge was clearly laid before him, again, as early as the end of the second century.
Concerning Tertullian, in my book Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ, I remark:
Despite his protestations, in On the Resurrection of the Flesh (XLIX), Tertullian referred to Paul’s comments at 1 Cor. 15:21 and compared the “glory of the sun” to that of Christ:
In like manner does he take examples from the heavenly bodies: “There is one glory of the sun” (that is, of Christ), “and another glory of the moon” (that is, of the Church), “and another glory of the stars” (in other words, of the seed of Abraham).
Another Christian authority who compares this “glory of the sun” to that of Christ is Church father Archelaus (c. 277), who in The Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes refers to “the true Sun, who is our Saviour.” (Archelaus, 63)
St. Augustine (354-430)
The contention of Christian sun worshipping not only emerged early in Christian history but also lingered well into the fifth century, as St. Augustine was compelled to address it as well, in his “Tractate on the Gospel of John” (XXXIV, 2):
I think that what the Lord says, “I am the light of the world,” is clear to those that have eyes, by which they are made partakers of this light: but they who have not eyes except in the flesh alone, wonder at what is said by the Lord Jesus Christ, “I am the light of the world.” And perhaps there may not be wanting some one too who says with himself: Whether perhaps the Lord Christ is that sun which by its rising and setting causes the day? For there have not been wanting heretics who thought this. The Manichaeans have supposed that the Lord Christ is that sun which is visible to carnal eyes, exposed and public to be seen, not only by men, but by the beasts. But the right faith of the Catholic Church rejects such a fiction, and perceives it to be a devilish doctrine: not only by believing acknowledges it to be such, but in the case of whom it can, proves it even by reasoning. Let us therefore reject this kind of error, which the Holy Church has anathematized from the beginning. Let us not suppose that the Lord Jesus Christ is this sun which we see rising from the east, setting in the west; to whose course succeeds night, whose rays are obscured by a cloud, which removes from place to place by a set motion: the Lord Christ is not such a thing as this. The Lord Christ is not the sun that was made, but He by whom the sun was made. For “all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.” (Augustine, 200. Emph. added.)
It is evident from this paragraph and Augustine’s protestations that there were many “heretics” who believed that Jesus Christ was the actual, physical sun. The group includes the heretical Christian sect of the Manicheans:
“The Manichaeans have supposed that the Lord Christ is that sun which is visible to carnal eyes, exposed and public to be seen, not only by men, but by the beasts.”
Augustine also states that this “error” was anathematized or denounced by the Holy Church from the beginning. When exactly “the beginning” occurred depends on when we perceive the “Holy Church” to have been created – was it at the end of the second century, with the formal establishment of the Catholic Church, or was it when Jesus Christ allegedly walked the earth? In any event, the “error” of equating Jesus Christ with the material sun which “every eye will see” happened in the earliest times of Christianity, many centuries before the modern era. Augustine’s discussion confirms that the notion of Christ as the actual, physical sun was widely held, evidenced by the Church father’s need to denounce the claim in no uncertain terms.
From its inception, Egyptian Christianity was represented by those who readily equated Jesus with both Osiris and Horus, the latter two symbolizing sun gods or aspects of the sun. Indeed, the Egyptian Christians or Copts repeatedly identified Osiris and Horus with Jesus in both myth and ritual, as the mythical lives of all three characters coalesced in numerous respects. As related by Egyptologist Sir Dr. E.A. Wallis Budge:
“In Osiris the Christian Egyptians found the prototype of Christ, and in the pictures and statues of Isis suckling her son Horus, they perceived the prototype of the Virgin Mary and her Child.” (Budge, 48.)
This fact of identifying both Osiris and Horus – again, essentially sun gods – with Jesus is demonstrated thoroughly in my book Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. For instance, as stated in Christ in Egypt:
Regarding the connection between the Egyptian religion, Gnosticism and Christianity, Dr. Wilson B. Bishai states:
“…the Copts of Egypt during the early Christian centuries were known for their massive production of Apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. This characteristic of the early Copts should not be surprising to us in light of the evidence of gnostic influence on the early Coptic Christian thought. The gnostics were literate people and well acquainted with ancient religions and mythology. As Christianity was spreading in Egypt, a group of these gnostic Christians apparently made an effort to tie old Egyptian myths to Christian beliefs.”
…In this same regard, Dr. Reginald E. Witt provides further, archaeological evidence:
“The fusion of Horus with Judaeo-Christian features can be exemplified in Gnostic gems from Egypt….
“In the theology and art of Gnosticism Horus and Christ could easily be blended…. Aeon/Horus was born of the Virgin Isis…. Clearly in the Gnosticism which fringed Christian orthodoxy Horus and Christ could merge.” (Murdock, CIE, 229.)
Demonstrating the remarkable ancient Horus-Jesus connection, one of the old Coptic spells to remove pains of childbirth and the stomach was “Jesus! Horus!” or just simply “Jesus Horus!” (Murdock, CIE, 297.)
Egyptian influence on Christianity is likewise discussed in The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West by Dr. Erik Hornung, a professor emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Basel, who remarks:
“Notwithstanding its superficial rejection of everything pagan, early Christianity was deeply indebted to ancient Egypt. In particular, the lively picture of the ancient Egyptian afterlife left traces in Christian texts; thus, among the Copts, and later in Islam, we encounter a fiery hell quite like that of the Egyptians… The descensus [descent] of Jesus, which played no role in the early church, was adopted into the official Credo after 359, thanks to apocryphal legends that again involved Egypt. Christ became the sun in the realm of the dead, for his descent into the netherworld had its ultimate precursor in the nightly journey of the ancient Egyptian sun god Re…” (Hornung, 73.)
This last part bears repeating: According to a respected modern Egyptologist, in ancient times, because of Egyptian religion –
“Christ became the sun in the realm of the dead.”
And so on, through well over 500 pages of evidence in Christ in Egypt of the Horus-Jesus connection, wherein Christ is identified and essentially equated with Egyptian sun gods. Therefore, denials of the influence of Egyptian religion upon Christianity and the very early identification of Christ as the sun – a thousand and a half years before it supposedly surfaced in the world, as is erroneously claimed – have no foundation in truth.
Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499 AD/CE)
The relationship of Christianity to sun worship continued throughout the ages, as exemplified by Marsilio Ficino, an Italian Neoplatonic-Christian philosopher of the 15th century who wrote an extensive essay on sun worship called The Book of the Sun, or De Sole. In the Preface to his book – written in a Catholic country by someone well aware of the Inquisitor toes he would be stepping on – Ficino expresses his purpose:
“I am daily pursuing a new interpretation of Plato… Therefore when lately I come to that Platonic mystery where he most exquisitely compares the Sun to God Himself, it seemed right to explain so great a matter somewhat more fully, especially since our Dionysius the Areopagite, the first of the Platonists, whose interpretation I hold in my hands, freely embraces a similar comparison of the Sun to God.” (Voss, 189)
Ficino provides an extensive comparison of God with the Sun. In fact, chapter IX of Ficino’s book is entitled, “The Sun is the Image of God. Comparisons of the Sun to God,” in which he remarks: “Having very diligently considered these things, our divine Plato named the Sun the visible son of Goodness itself. He also thought that the Sun was the manifest symbol of God, placed by God himself in this worldly temple.” (Voss, 202) Ficino further states:
“According to Plato, [Socrates] called the Sun not God himself but the son of God…” (Voss, 211)
It is thus Plato (c. 428-c. 348 bce) and/or Socrates (c. 469-399 bce) in the fourth to fifth centuries prior to the common era who determined that the son of God is the sun of God, although, of course, the sun was likewise considered the son of one god or another much earlier in ancient Egypt and elsewhere as well. Naturally, this statement by Plato was made in Greek, so there appeared no natural play on words as occurs in English with “son” and “sun.” Nevertheless, the motif of the “sun of God” being the “son of God” is pre-Christian, and there is no other way to express it in English. Moreover, this sun-son word play has been noted many times previously in history by a variety of individuals.
The sun-son play on words as applicable to Christ has been deemed so “common” as to represent a “devotional pun.” Obviously, this “devotional pun” was widely recognized centuries ago by the English-speaking intelligentsia and educated elite. Therefore, shallow criticisms of the statement that the son of God is the sun of God represent illogical straw men reflective of ignorance of this fact and should be dismissed as such. In reality, the repeated punning across several centuries proves once more that Christ was widely associated with the sun long before the 19th century. In any event, the idea of the sun as both God and the son of God predates the Christian era by centuries, and the ancient solar role was most obviously transferred first to Yahweh and then to his supposed son, the alleged Jewish messiah Jesus Christ.
Charles Francois Dupuis (1742-1809)
In the 18th century, French scholar Charles Francois Dupuis, a professor at the College de France, produced his multivolume book “Origines de tous les cultes,” in which he discussed astrotheology as the root of major religious concepts. In the English translation of various excerpts from this work, The Origin of All Religious Worship, Dupuis states:
“Let us well bear in mind here, what we have proved in another place, that Christ has all the characteristics of the God Sun in his birth, or in his incarnation in the womb of a virgin, and that this birth arrives just at the same moment, when the ancients celebrated that of the Sun or of Mithras… The actual question now is, to show, that he has also the characteristics of the God Sun in his resurrection…” (Dupuis, 243)
Dupuis calls Christians “those worshippers of the Sun under the name of Christ” (43), while he later refers to the description “the Christians have of the holy face of their God Sun, Christ….” (Dupuis, 96)
Dupuis also refers to “the Sun Christ in Palestine” (111), and he discusses the Greek gods Dionysus/Bacchus and Hercules as being the “God Sun,” saying:
“…Should the reader be well convinced of this truth, he will then easily admit our explanation of the solar legend, known by the Christians under the title of the life of Christ, which is only one of the thousand names of the God Sun, whatever may be the opinion of his worshippers about his existence as a man, because it will not prove anymore than that of the worshippers of Bacchus, who made of him a conqueror and a hero. Let us therefore first establish as an acknowledged fact, that the Bacchus of the Greeks was merely a copy of the Osiris of the Egyptians…and worshipped in Egypt was the Sun.” (Dupuis, 116)
Dupuis cites many ancient authorities to prove his points, including Diodorus Siculus, Chaeremon, Jamblichus/Iamblichus, Plutarch, Diogenes-Laertius, Suidas, Macrobius, et al.
Moreover, Dupuis has an entire chapter entitled, “AN EXPLANATION OF THE FABLE, IN WHICH THE SUN IS WORSHIPPED UNDER THE NAME OF CHRIST.”
“When we shall have shown – that the pretended history of a God, born of a Virgin at the winter solstice, who resuscitates at Easter or at the equinox of spring, after having descended into hell; of a God, who has twelve apostles in his train, whose leader has all the attributes of Janus; of a God-conqueror of the Prince of Darkness, who restores to mankind the dominion of Light, and who redeems the evils of Nature – is merely a solar fable, like all those, which we have analysed, it will be quite as indifferent, or of as little consequence to examine, whether there ever existed a man by the name of Christ, as it would be to enquire, whether some Prince was called Hercules, provided it will be conclusively demontrated that the being, consecrated by worship under the name of Christ, is the Sun, and that the marvelousness of the legend or of the same poem, has that luminary for its object; because it would seem then to be proved, that the Christians are mere worshippers of the Sun…” (Dupuis, 217)
Dupuis also addresses the history of the contention for Christian sun worship:
“We are not the only ones, nor the first, who have this idea of the religion of the Christians. Their apologist Tertullian, agrees, that from the earliest days of the introduction of this religion in the West, the more enlightened men, who had examined into
it, pronounced it to be merely a sect of the Mithraic religion, and that the God of the Christians like that of the Persians, was the Sun. I
n Christianism there were sundry practices remarked, which betrayed that origin; the Christians never said their prayers, without facing the East, or that part of the World, whence the sun rises. All their temples, or all their religious meeting houses were anciently facing the rising Sun. Their holy days in each week had reference to the day of the Sun, called Sunday, or the day of the Lord Sun…. All these practices derived their origin from the very nature of their religion.” (Dupuis, 266.)
And so on, throughout his magnum opus – indeed, Dupuis’s entire work is designed to demonstrate the astrotheological underpinnings of religion in general and the solar mythology of Christianity in specific.
Dupuis was followed also in the 18th century by French scholar Count Volney, who likewise put forth the case for Christ being the sun in his book The Ruins of Empires. In the 1820s, English clergyman Rev. Dr. Robert Taylor likewise wrote about Christ as the sun, paying for his insight with two prison terms for “blasphemy.” In more modern times, in 1925 F.J. Dölger published a comprehensive study of “Christ as the sun in Christian antiquity” called Sol salutis, while Finnish scholar Dr. Yrjö Hirn (1870-1953) “mentions Christ as the sun and the Virgin as a cloud, citing this analogy by Bernard of Clairvaux [1090-1153] and Gualterius Wilburnus.” (Katz, 20.)
Far from being a “modern” conspiracy contrived by various shady globalists, the equation of Christ with the sun and the solar nature of Christianity were so obvious not only to the early Pagans and Christians alike, based on the Bible, writings of Church fathers, Christians traditions and artifacts, but also to the Mexican natives the Nahua, for example, that they “combine the sun and Christ into a composite personality who is the masculine creative force in the Nahuat universe.” (Taggart, 57) As remarked upon by anthropologist Dr. James M. Taggart – one of my professors at Franklin & Marshall College – in Nahuat Myth and Social Structure:
“The annual movement of the sun toward the north from its lowest point on the horizon at the winter solstice is concordant with the annual festival cycle. The major winter solstice ceremony celebrates the birth of Christ and the annual re-birth of the sun as it begins to move north bringing more heat and light with gradually longer and warmer days. The annual movement of the sun along the horizon is analogous to the movement of the sun during the 24-hour period, so that the winter solstice is to the summer solstice as midnight is to noon. The climactic moment of the Christmas celebration – a procession carrying the Christ child from the house of the mayordomo (ritual sponsor) to the church – occurs at the time of the day (midnight) analogous to the corresponding time of the year (winter solstice). Other major festivals fall on or near other major events in the solar year. The Easter celebration occurs near the vernal equinox; the festival in honor of San Juan [St. John] occurs just after the summer solstice; and All Saints’ Day in honor of the dead is near the autumnal equinox.” (Taggart, 57-58)
Other native cultures – uninfluenced by anything other than the Christian church in one form or another – likewise perceived Christ as the sun and Christianity as another permutation of the ancient solar religion they were already following before their conquest and subjugation under Christian rule.
There remains much more about the solar origins of Christianity and the solar nature of Jesus Christ beginning from the earliest times to the latest. Suffice it to say that this equation did not begin or end in the 19th century with any particular group or individual but, rather, has a long history within Christian tradition itself, as we can see proved abundantly here and elsewhere, such as in my books.
In the end, we need to ask ourselves: Is it more scientifically plausible that 2,000 years ago the God of the cosmos took birth through the womb of a virgin as a Jewish man who walked on water, performed miracles, raised the dead, resurrected himself from death and ascended into heaven – or could it be that this tale is a reworking of older myths in currency around the known world of the time?
Acharya S, The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold, AUP, IL, 1999.
—Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled, AUP, IL, 2004.
Archelaus, The Acts of The Disputation with The Heresiarch Manes, Kessinger, 2004.
Augustine, St. Augustin on Homilies on the Gospel of John, Kessinger, 2004.
Budge, E.A. Wallis, Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life, Kessinger, 2004.
Catholic Encyclopedia, XIV, Charles G. Herbermann, et al., eds., The Universal Knowledge Foundation, NY, 1913.
Dodgson, Charles, tr., A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church: Tertullian, John Henry Parker, Oxford, 1842.
Dupuis, Charles Francois, The Origin of All Religious Worship, University of Michigan, 2005.
Hornung, Erik, The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West, tr. David Lorton, Cornell University Press, NY, 2001.
Jenkins, William, ed., The Comprehensive Commentary on the Holy Bible, Fessenden and Co., Brattleboro, 1834.
Katz, Israel J., et al., Studies on the Cantigas de Santa Maria: Art Music, and Poetry, Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1987.
McClintock, John and Strong, James, Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, I, Harper & Brothers, NY, 1891.
Murdock, D.M., Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection, Stellar House Publishing, Seattle, 2009.
Rahner, Hugo, Greek Myths and Christian Mystery, Biblo & Tannen Publishers, 1971.
Roberts, Alexander, Ante-Nicene Christian Library, XI, T&T Clark, Edinburgh, 1869.
—Ante-Nicene Fathers, III, Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY, 1903.
Schaff, Philip, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, XII, The Christian Literature Company, NY, 1895.
Taggart, James M., Nahuat Myth and Social Structure, University of Texas Press, 1997.
Taylor, Glen, Yahweh and the Sun: Biblical and Archaeological Evidence for Sun Worship in Ancient Israel, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1993.
Excerpted from Jesus as the Sun throughout History
For more information on the entire 37-page ebook, please go to:
Jesus as the Sun throughout History