There are several sources on Horus (see list).1 One of the best ways to evaluate whether one deity is a copy of another is to evaluate a sketch of their life, which helps mitigate against cherry-picking, misleading language, and the ignoring of differences. What follows is a standard sketch from perhaps the most standard source. Interesting parallels to Jesus seems non-existent:
Encyclopedia of Religions (16 vols): “In ancient Egypt there were originally several gods known by the name Horus, but the best known and most important from the beginning of the historic period was the son of Osiris and Isis who was identified with the king of Egypt. According to myth, Osiris, who assumed the rulership of the earth shortly after its creation, was slain by his jealous brother, Seth. The sister- wife of Osiris, Isis, who collected the pieces of her dismembered husband and revived him, also conceived his son and avenger, Horus. Horus fought with Seth, and, despite the loss of one eye in the contest, was successful in avenging the death of his father and in becoming his legitimate successor. Osiris then became king of the dead and Horus king of the living, this transfer being renewed at every change of earthly rule. The myth of divine kingship probably elevated the position of the god as much as it did that of the king. In the fourth dynasty, the king, the living god, may have been one of the greatest gods as well, but by the fifth dynasty the supremacy of the cult of Re, the sun god, was accepted even by the kings. The Horus-king was now also ‘son of Re.’ This was made possible mythologically by personifying the entire older genealogy of Horus (the Heliopolitan ennead) as the goddess Hathor, ‘house of Horus,’ who was also the spouse of Re and mother of Horus. ‘Horus was usually represented as a falcon, and one view of him was as a great sky god whose outstretched wings filled the heavens; his sound eye was the sun and his injured eye the moon. Another portrayal of him particularly popular in the Late Period, was as a human child suckling at the breast of his mother, Isis. The two principal cult centers for the worship of Horus were at Bekhdet in the north, where very little survives, and at Idfu in the south, which has a very large and well-preserved temple dating from the Ptolemaic period. The earlier myths involving Horus, as well as the ritual performed there, are recorded at Idfu.” [Mircea Eliade (ed) (MacMillan, 1993), 486.]
A relatively comprehensive list of Horus’s popular titles/epithets are entirely different than titles of Jesus.1 (There are several forms/iterations/aspects of Horus, which evolved over time and place.2 Some titles overlap, but as seen below, none match up with Jesus in any interesting way.)3
Horus was called Christ, the Lamb etc..1, 2 For example, Horus was called…
This is relevant because Jesus too was called these exact same things.
In response however…
•…Horus was not given any of these titles.3 [Click the links above for details]
Horus was called “KRST” (“Christ”, “Anointed one?”). This is relevant because KRST is the Egyptian word for “Christ,” or “Anointed one” (as in, Jesus CHRIST [Grk. Christos]).1
In response however,…
• …It wouldn’t be improbable: anointing religious figures was a common motif in the ancient Near Eastern culture, and Horus had 40+ titles to stumble by chance upon “anointed one.”
• …Even if Horus were called “anointed one”, Egyptian anointing of the dead during the embalming process was entirely different from the kingly anointing referred to in the case of Jesus.2
• …Horus was not called “anointed one.”
◦ …Horus was never anointed in the Egyptian-burial or Jewish-king sense.
◦ …KRST is not a title at all; it is the Egyptian word for “burial.”3
• Gerald Massey (d. 1907): “The karast is literally the god or person who has been mummified, embalmed, and anointed or christified. [218.] … there is no other origin for Christ the anointed than ‘Horus the Karast’ or ‘anointed son of god the father’. There is no other origin for a Messiah as the anointed than for the Masu or anointed.” [Ancient Egypt (1907), 219.]
• Tom Harpur: “Significantly, Horus was called the KRST, or “anointed one”, from a word that was inscribed or painted on the lid of a mummy’s coffin millennia before Christianity duplicated the story.” [84.] “There is so much more to explore and share—how the letters KRST appear on Egyptian mummy coffins many centuries B.C.E.” …“the letters KRST appear on Egyptian mummy coffins many centuries B.C.E., …this word when vowels are filled in (they were frequently omitted in ancient languages) is really Karast or Krist, signifying Christ.” [6.] “I remind the reader again that the coffin bore the letters KRST, meaning Karast or Christ (i.e., the anointed one).” [The Pagan Christ (Thomas Allen Publishers, 2007), 101.]
Horus was called a “Good Sheperd.”1 This is relevant because this title and idea would not apply to Jesus Christ unless there was an uncoincidental similarity (suggestive of borrowing).
In response, however…
• …Even if he was called a “good shepherd,” that's a common way to say someone is a good leader.
• …Horus was not called a “good shepherd.” The claim has been forever undocumented.2
• Gerald Massey: “A comparative list of some pre-existing and pre-Christian data which were Christianized… Horus the Good Shepherd, with the crook upon his shoulder… Jesus the Good Shepherd, with the lamb or kid upon his shoulder.” [Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World (Cosmo Classics, 2007 ed.), 665.] (For an example of a borrower: Tom Harpur: “Horus was the good shepherd, the lamb of God, the bread of life, the son of man, the Word, and the fisher; so was Jesus.” [The Pagan Christ, 84.])
Horus was called the “Holy Child.” This is relevant because this title and idea would not apply to Jesus Christ unless there was an uncoincidental similarity (suggestive of borrowing).
In response however…
• …This would be unsurprising: any child deity could/would be called this.
• …Horus was not called “holy child.” The claim has been forever undocumented.
• …Jesus was not called “holy child” by the first Christians. It was not a title.1
Horus was called “Iusa.”1 This is relevant because it is a way of saying “Jesus,” and Horus and Jesus would not share this name unless there was an uncoincidental similarity (suggestive of borrowing)
In response however…
• …Horus was not called Iusa.1
• …Jesus was not called Iusa.2
• Gerald Massey: “As already shown, Iu, the ass in ancient Egypt, was a type of Atum-Ra, and his son Iusa in the Kamite mythos.” [Ancient Egypt, 753.] Predictably, layman Alvin Boyd Kuhn cites Massey (Who is This King of Glory, 409), and repeats the argument. Likewise, as usual, layman author Tom Harpur cites Kuhn: • “Where did the name Jesus originate? Simply put, it was derived from the Late Iesus, which was derived from the Greek Iesous, which in turn was derived from the Egyptian Iusa. “Jesus” has Egyptian roots.” [The Pagan Christ, 219.]
“For many thousands of years before Christ, the prototype of all coming saviors was the Egyptian Iusa. Then name is from Iu (Ia, Ie, Io, or Ja, Je, Jo, Ju), the original name of biune divinity, combined with the Egyptian suffix sa (or se, si, su, or saf, sef, sif, suf), meaning with the grammatical masculine “f”, the male heir, son, successor, or prince.” [Lost Light, 544.] However, the title Iusa does not even exist. • W. Ward Gasque: “Ron Leprohan, Professor of Egyptology at the University of Toronto, pointed out that while “sa” means “son” in ancient Egyptian and “iu” means “to come”, Kuhn/Harpur have the syntax all wrong. In any event, the name “Iusa” simply does not exist in Egyptian.” [http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/6641]
Kuhn is making stuff up again:
• Glenn Miller: “I have looked at probably 50 epithets of the various Horus deities, and most major indices of the standard Egyptology reference works and come up virtually empty-handed. I can find a city named “Iusaas” [Gods of Egypt:1.85], a pre-Islamic Arab deity by the name of “Iusaas”, thought by some to be the same as the Egyptian god Tehuti/Thoth [Ibid:2.289], and a female counterpart to Tem, named “Iusaaset” [Ibid:1.354]. But no reference to Horus as being “Iusa”...] [christianthink-tank.com] 3. “Jesus” (Hebrew: Yeshua) is known to be a form of Joshua (Hebrew: “Yahweh is Salvation.”)
Horus was called “Lamb of God.” (An alleged picture of a lamb in a catacomb is interpreted by Massey to be Horus.)1
• …Massey’s picture remains undocumented. (see p. 343 of his book)
• …Massey’s interpretation is entirely unique and unsupported. (E.g. why “of God”?)
• …Massey’s picture is not an epithet; there is no documentation of Horus being called “Lamb of God”.2
• …Jesus's role as the lamb is already sacrificial and thoroughly entrenched in Judaism (the Passover lamb).3
• Gerald Massey: “In another of the pictures from the catacombs the good shepherd is accompanied by both the lamb and the ram, which are at least equivalent to the dual type of the equinox in Aries. He carries the lamb upon his shoulders, whilst the ram is resting at his feet (Lundy). Horus was the lamb upon the western and the ram upon the eastern horizon, both being united in a figure of the double power.” [Ancient Egypt, 343.]
Horus was called “Son of Man.”1 This is relevant because Jesus reportedly also called himself Son of Man (this is reported 88 times in the New Testament [e.g. Mk 14:61-62]).
In response however…
• …Horus was not called “Son of Man.”1
• …Jesus usage of “Son of Man” demonstrably comes from Jewish tradition alone.2
• Gerald Massey: “…there was a ‘Son of Man’ with an esoteric and mystical significance, who was known to the gnostic teachers as Anthropos the son of Anthropos; also as Monogenes. Horus the Savior in his first advent was the child of Isis; this is, the son of woman when the woman is divine. In his second advent he is Iu, the Su or Son of God the Father, who became the Son of Man by title thus: Atum-ra, son of Ptah, was the earliest god in the likeness of the perfect man. he was the first man in the same sense that the Jew-god Ieou in the Pistis Sophia is called ‘First Man’ (333) as the divine begetter in the human likeness. Ieou is the first man, and Iao is his son. Thus, Iao, or Jesus, is ‘the Son of Man.’” [Ancient Egypt, 793.]
• …Mark 14:61-62 -- “the high priest was questioning Him… “‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’” And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
• …Daniel 7:13-14 -- “And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, … And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom,…” (b) The authors were Jews and/or rooted in the leadership of the Jewish apostles in Jerusalem. This is relevant for two reasons. First, Jews were far more familiar with Daniel 7 than such a stray title (among 40+ throughout history) esoterically attributed to Horus in a stray document they did not study and was not part of their culture. By contrast, they regularly studied and memorized Daniel 7, and referred to it in their literature regularly (e.g., apocryphal literature—1 Enoch 37-71, 4 Ezra 13 [2 Esdras]).
Horus was incarnated into human flesh.1 This is relevant because Jesus was also incarnated into human flesh.2
In response however…
• …Horus was not incarnated.3
• Alvin Boyd Kuhn: “that same incarnation of the divine ideal in the character of Iusa [or Horus],” [_Who is This King of Glory? (Kessinger Publishing, 1992), 109.]
• Tom Harpur: “The truth is that the Gospels are indeed the old manuscripts of the dramatized rituals of the incarnation and resurrection of the sun god Osiris/Horus, rituals that were first Egyptian, later Gnostic and Hellenic, then Hebrew, and finally adopted ignorantly by the Christian movement and transferred to the arena of history.” [The Pagan Christ, 80.]
• D. M. Murdock (Acharya S.): “Indeed, Horus is the living god, the earthly incarnation of the father, precisely as was said of Christ and God the Father.” [Christ in Egypt, 62.]
• W. Ward Gasque (Biblical scholar, consulting 10 Egyptologists): “Kuhn/Harper's redefinition of ‘incarnation’ and rooting this in Egyptian religion is regarded as bogus by all of the Egyptologists with whom I have consulted. According to one: “Only the pharaoh was believed to have a divine aspect, the divine power of kingship, incarnated in the human being currently serving as the king. No other Egyptians ever believed they possessed even ‘a little bit of the divine’.” [“The Leading Religion Writer in Canada … Does He Know What He's Talking About?” at History News Network historynewsnetwork.org]
Horus was virgin-born.1 This is relevant because Jesus was also virgin-born (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38).
Horus was born on December 25. 1 This is relevant because Jesus too was born on December 25.
In response however…
• …Horus was not born on December 25.2
• …Jesus was not born on December 25.3
• …Horus is too late to influence Jesus (at least, the Horus that Murdock is getting from Plutarch)
• D. M. Murdock (Acharya S.): “Concerning this cycle in Egypt, in “Isis and Osiris” (65, 378C), Plutarch remarked that Horus the Child—or “Harpocrates,” his Greek name—was “born about the winter solstice, unfinished and infant-like” (Budge, Mummy (1894), 271-272.)”, adding that the winter solstice is December 25. [Christ in Egypt, 83.] Cf. Peter Joseph & D.M. Murdock, The ZEITGIEST Sourcebook, 34.
i) A source puts Horus's birth on the 31st of Khoiak (the Egyptian month=[Oct 18 to Nov 27]).
ii) Horus's birth was eventually celebrated on the so-called “Epagomenal Days” (between August 24 and 28, not December 25).
Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt: “The original lunar calender did not correspond to the actual rotation of the earth around the sun, thus veering steadily away from real time. The apgomenal days were added to make the necessary adjustments “” the birthdays celebrated on these additional periods of time were: the first day, Osiris; second, Horus; third, Set; fourth Isis, and the fifth, Nephthyns” [Margaret Bunson (Facts on File, 2014), 132.]
Murdock later mentions this in a different context, but not in relation to December 25 (since that conflicts with her conclusion):
• D. M. Murdock (Acharya S.): “As part of the changing Egyptian calendar, five epagomenal days were eventually added to the old calendar of 360 days, the first of these five constituting Osiris’s birthday, while his brother Horus (“the Elder”) was born the next day. This period came to represent the beginning of the “Egyptian sacred year”. Therefore, it could be said that, with Sirius preceding the inundation and new year, the star in the east announced the births of both Osiris and Horus.” [Christ in Egypt, 200.]
• D.M. Murdock: “The truth is that, as is typical of myths, Christ’s birthday from the earliest times of his conception has been variously placed, on a myriad of dates such as: January 5th, January 6th, March 25th, March 28th, April 19th, April 20th, May 20th, August 21st, November 17th and November 19th. Many if not all of these dates are, like December 25th, mythological and astrotheological, representing milestones in the cycles of the sun, moon, planets and so on.”[Christ in Egypt, 347.]
Horus was born in a cave/stable.1 This is relevant because Jesus too was born in a cave (or manger).
In response however…
• …Horus was not born in a cave/stable.2
• …Jesus was not born in a cave/stable.3
II. The Narrative of Isis: “I am Isis, who conceived a child by her husband, and she became heavy with Horus, the divine [child]. I gave birth to Horus, the son of Osiris, in a nest of papyrus plants.” [“II. The Narrative of Isis.”, in Legends of the Gods: The Egyptian Texts, ed with trans. by Budge (1912).] Scholars agree: • A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses: “Born at Khemmis in the north-east Delta, the young god was hidden in the papyrus marshes, hence the epithet 'Har-hery-adj' or 'Horus who is upon his papyrus plants'. This appears visually in a wall relief in the temple of Stey 1 at Abydos as a hawk on a column in the shape of papryus reed.” [George Hart (Routledge, 1998), 89.]
• Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses 2nd ed.: “By tradition born at Khemmis in the Nile delta region, Horus's father was the dead Osiris, his mother was Isis,” [(Michael Jordan, 2004), 128.]
• A Handbook of Egyptian Religion: “To escape the machination of Set, she thereupon fled to the swamps of the Delta, and in this region, at a spot where later Khemmis stood, she gave birth to a boy, Horus, and suckled the child in solitude, no one knew where.” [Adolf Erman (Archibald Constable & Co, 1907), 34.]
• Jan Assmann: “Khemmis was a mythic place in the delta, hidden and inaccessible, where Isis raised her child Horus in total seclusion. … In the holy of holies of this Hathor chapel is a representation of a cow emerging from the papyrus thicket of Khemmis, with the royal child kneeling and nursing from her udder.” [The Search for God in Ancient Egypt (Cornell, 2001), 133.]
• Ben Witherington: “Also, when Luke uses the word kataluma in his Gospel (22:11 and par: cf. 1 Kings 1:18), it clearly does not mean an inn but a guest room. It is also worth pointing out that the Arabic and Syriac versions of the NT have never translated kataluma as inn. It becomes more likely that by kataluma Luke means either house or guest room, and the latter translation must have the edge precisely because in the vast majority of ancient Near-Eastern peasant homes for which we have archaeological and literary evidence, the manger was within the home, not in some separate barn. The animals as well as the family slept within one large enclosed space that was divided so that usually the animals would be on the lower level, and the family would sleep on a raised dais (Bailey).” [Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, eds. Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, I. Howard Marshall, 69.]
Horus was announced by a star in the east, with 3 kings.1 This is relevant because Jesus too was announced by a star in the east, being visited by three kings.2
In response however…
• …Horus's birth was not accompanied by 3 wise men.3
• …Jesus's birth was not accompanied by 3 kings.
◦ …The text does not say Jesus was being born at this time. (He could be crawling-walking.)
◦ …The text does not say "kings" visited. (It was wise men.)4
◦ …The text does not say it was "three" visitors.5
• …The text does not have in mind a star.6
Matthew 2:1-12 -- “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem … the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. … opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Horus was considered a deity. This is relevant because Jesus is also considered to be a deity.1
In response however…
• …Jesus historically claimed to be divine; there's no room for mythical influence here. [Forthcoming]
Horus was identified as (or associated with) a fish.1 This is relevant because Jesus was similarly associated with a fish.
In response however…
• …Horus's being associated with a fish has been forever undocumented in pre-Christian sources.
• …Even if Horus was a fish (as D. M. Murdock claims), there was no symbolic Christ-fish idea until the 2nd century.2
• …Jesus was not associated with a fish in even remotely the same way Horus was.
• Gerald Massey: “Amongst the numerous types of Horus repeated in Rome as symbols of the alleged “historic” Jesus are… Horus as Icthus, the fish; Horus as the bennu or phoenix; Horus as the dove; Horus as…” [Ancient Egypt, 752.] (cf. Kuhn who literally just copied Massey here. Alvin Boyd Kuhn: Among numerous types of Horus repeated in Roman symbols of the alleged historic Jesus are… Horus as Icthys the Fish; Horus as bennu or phoenix; Horus as the dove….” [Who is this King of Glory? (The Book Tree, 1984, 2007) 202.])
• Gerald Massey: “Horus was the prototypal fish, the same type of sacrifice that is still eaten in the penitential meal to-day, as it was in On when Sebek-Horus was the Savior as the fish… Horus as the fish preceded Horus as the fisher when Sebek, the crocodile-headed god, was the typical great fisher. It is said of the first two fishers, “These are the two hands of Horus which had become fishes,” that is, as types of Horus the fisher, according to the mystery of Nekhen (Rit. ch. 113). The followers of Horus as fishers (ch. 153A) are called “the fisherman who are fishing.” Thus the total group who were the twelve as reapers in the harvest-field of Amenta are also the twelve as the fishers. The first fishes caught for Horus are then eaten at the sacramental meal. As it is said (Rit. ch. 153A), the fishes are laid on the table of Horus. They had been brought to him when the festival was founded by Ra; “they were brought to Horus and displayed before his face at the feast of the 15th day of the month, when the fishes were produces” (Rit., ch. 113).” [Ancient Egypt, 860-861.]
• Gerald Massey: “Horus, or Jesus, the fulfiller of time and law, the saviour who came by water, by blood and in the spirit, Horus the fish and the bread of life, was due according to procession in the sign of the fishes about the year 255 B.C. A new point of departure for the religion of Icthus in Rome is indicated astronomically when Jesus or Horus was portrayed with the sign of the fish upon his head, and the crocodile beneath his feet. This would be about the year 255 B.C. (so-called).” [Ancient Egypt, 473.]
• Gerald Massey: “A kindred representation is portrayed upon a gnostic stone now in the British Museum. This is Horus the gnostic Jesus as Icthus the fish. That the scene occurs in the sign of Pisces is shown by the two fishes, one of which is over the head of Horus, the other under his feet.” [Ancient Egypt, 343.]
• The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church: “In Christian art and literature the fish is a symbol of Christ, also sometimes of the newly baptized and of the Eucharist. It came into use in the 2nd cent., but neither its origin nor its meaning have so far been completely elucidated.” [3rd edition. eds. Frank Cross and Elizabeth Livingstone (Oxford, 2005), 617.]
Horus was baptized by Anup [Anubis] the Baptizer. After all,…
• …they both “cry in the wilderness.”1 Crying in the wilderness is something “those animals notoriously do”; similarly, “[John the Baptist] said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'make straight the way of the Lord.” [Jn 1:23]1[See footnote for details and response] • …they were both beheaded. John was beheaded (see cf. Matthew 14; Mark 6:14-29), and Murdock give two evidences to suggest Anubis was beheaded.2 [See footnote for details and response] This is relevant because Jesus too was baptized by [John/Anubis] the Baptist (Mt 3:13-17).
In response however…
• …Anubis never baptized anyone (and certainly wasn't called “the baptizer”).3
• …There is no individual in all Egyptian history known as “Anup the Baptiser” (or “Anpu” or any other variation).4
• …John the Baptist is a real confirmed historical figure.
• …Anubis was not John (Murdock's case for associating them is terrible).
By way of response, however…
• …John did not cry like a jackal (Jn 1:23 is quoting Isaiah 40:3 [cf. Mk 1:3], where he cries out a message).
• …Anubis did not cry like a jackal. (He was humanoid god with a jackal head; he did not scamper in the wilderness crying like a common jackal.)
Warren Isham: “As I was nearing the southernmost propylon of Karnac, passing moodily along, I found myself, all of a sudden, right in the midst of a vast assembly of one of the chief gods of the ancient Egyptians, in their resurrection, state having just risen form their long slumber underground. It was the god Anubis, which was formed by striking off the head of a human being, and affixing the head of a jackal to the decapitated lump of humanity, thus making a deity of the first order. There was an innumerable company of them…” [“Land of the Pyramids” in Travels in the Two Hemispheres (Raymond & Selleck, 1858), 218.]
By way of response however…
○ …Regarding the Imiut fetish, no explanation is provided for how it implies Anubis the deity was beheaded.
○ …Regarding Isham's quote, no one says Anubis was beheaded, not even the obscure quoted author Warran Isham (writing in 1858). The impression Murdock gives is that Isham is saying the deity Anubis used to be a man, but then had his head cut off, only to be replaced with a Jackals. This is misleading, however. In context (provided above) it is clear that Isham is just giving an especially vivid description of what Anubis looks like. Having a a human body and animal head was common among Egyptian gods; having an animal head implies Anubis was beheaded no more than it implies the animal-headed Horus etc. was beheaded.
“[First] The ‘major ancient literature’ I refer to consists of the ‘canonical’ ANE documents (COS1,2,3 in my Book Abbrvs) and other Egyptian literature that I have stored on my harddrive. The attached biblio lists the 1100+ documents/books I have on the harddrive, and I have highlighted in RED the most pertinent ones. But I can keyword search ALL of them in seconds, and I looked for every combo of horus, anup, asup, and baptize – with ZERO results.
Two. Additionally, I checked some 20 hard-books in my library. Not a single description of Horus (in his many forms) even MENTIONED baptism – or anything like it—even in books specifically on Egyptian deities or religion.
Three. Then, I looked at references/articles in books on baptism. The Encyclopedia of Religion had one paragraph on baptism in Egypt, describing it as applying ONLY to newborns and to dead people. Not a whisper of Horus, or 30 years… The only reference I found to anything CLOSE to this was in the so-called Baptism of Pharaoh, a coronation ritual of the pharaoh. [CANE:277]: “An early coronation ceremony seems to have been the so-called Baptism of Pharaoh, a symbolic purification of the king by the gods of the four cardinal points. The reliefs show not only water but also the symbols for life and dominion being poured over the pharaoh.” The reason it is referred to as ‘so-called’ is probably because it is NOT immersion (the proper meaning of baptizo).
When I looked for more references to the Baptism of Pharaoh (since the Pharaoh was sometimes identified with one version of Horus—as the Son of Re—I thought maybe that would be a possible research line), I found out that it was the OPPOSITE: it was Horus DOING the ‘baptizing’ of the Pharaoh. [“Anup the Baptiser?” christianthinktank.com/anup.html]
Horus had 12 disciples/followers.1. After all, mythicist D.M. Murdock argues…
• …the number of “the 12” is based on the Zodiac's 12 signs.2
• ……Egypt has a theme of “the 12.”3
• …Horus has “12 'star gods' in front of him” in the Book of Amduat.4
• …Horus has 12 helper gods in the tomb of Sethos I.5
• …Horus is with 11 humanoids in the Book of Gates.6
[Note: see footnotes for details and responses.]
This is relevant because Jesus also had 12 disciples/followers. (See Mark 3:13-19, Matthew 10:1-4, Luke 6:12-16, and Acts 1:13.)
In response, Murdock suggests the 12 tribes were patterned after the Zodiac. At least some later Jewish authors suspected this:
>◦ Josephus (Antiquities, 3.8): “And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle which the Greeks call the zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning.” (Josephus/Whiston, 75.)
◦ Philo (“On the Life of Moses,” 12) had made the same comments regarding Moses: “Then the twelve stones on the breast, which are not like one another in colour, and which are divided into four rows of three stones in each, what else can they be emblems of, except of the circle of the zodiac?” (Philo/Duke, 99.) There are also problems with this counter-reply from Murdock, however. For starters, Josephus and Philo are far too late to be useful as sources of information on why Judaism taught 12 tribes existed. More broadly: (and it's not clear why the Zodiac would lead to 12 tribes).
◦ First, it's not clear why the Zodiac would lead to 12 tribes, much less with the rich history based on sons of Jacob and land divisions.
◦ Second, even if Hebrews did get the 12 tribes from Egypt's use of the Zodiac (which they did not), this is not relevant (yet) to Horus.
◦ Third, even if Hebrews did get the 12 tribes from Egypt's use of the Zodiac (which they did not), that would not detract from the point that Jesus was not borrowed from Egypt. The 12 disciples were still patterned after the 12 tribes of Israel and so this aspect of Jesus paid no attention to Horus whatsoever. Murdock has to say that the creators of Jesus deliberately borrowed from Horus on several regards, and in this case they even were accidentally borrowing from Horus!
◦ Fourth, if it can be shown that the twelve tribes were in existence before the Egptian use of the Zodiac, then Murdock's argument would be defeated. Sure enough, the tribes did exist long before, so Murdock's argument fails. The Zodiac originated in Babylon, entering Greek astronomy in only the 4th century BC. From there, it was only really from Greek Hellenization, during the Ptolemaic kingdom, that the Zodiac finally integrated into Egyptian astrology.[Barton, 13] > • D.M. Murdock (Acharya S.): [Admits] “Modern scholarship thus has disassociated the zodiac from Egypt and denied Egyptian influence on the much later Babylonian. [“Christ in Egypt”]
• Erik Hornun: “The zodiac was adopted early in the Ptolemaic Period. The earliest, still rectangular example stems from an older temple at Esna and belongs to the time of Ptolemy III and Ptolemy IV.” [The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West, trans. by Lorton (Cornell University Press, 2001), 30-31.]
• Robert Powell: “This coordinate system of twelve zodiacal signs, i.e. twelve equal-length zodiacal constellations each 30° long, emerged in Babylonian astronomy during the fifth century B.C. and was transmitted from Babylon to Greece, Hellenistic Egypt, Rome, and India.” [“The Definition of the Babylonian Zodiac and the Influence of Babylonian Astronomy on the Subsequent Defining of the Zodiac” (Doctoral Dissertation) (2005).]
[Note: Murdock argues against this, but her case is a string of one unconvincing maybe built on another and another. Among her case is the existence of a theme centered on the number twelve. (See footnotes below.) She first concludes, “[my evidence] make[s] for an intriguing hypothesis for further study” and then “it is reasonable to suggest that the Egyptians possessed the rudiments of the zodiac.”]
• PT 601:1660-1671/P 582.
• The Paut in Pepi II Pyramid Text of Pepi II at Deir el Bahari:
By way of response, however,…
◦ …Murdock simply states that this embodies a theme of “Horus and the Twelve.”
◦ …“Jesus and the Twelve” involved thirteen persons (Jesus is not one of the Twelve). However, Murdock's “Horus and the Twelve” is just twelve persons: Horus is one of the twelve. The number is wrong!
◦ Murdock made up the phrase “Horus and the Twelve.” (Why not “Osiris and the Twelve?” or alternatively, “Geb, Haothr, Atum, and the Nine,” or just a list of all their names as it actually is represented in the text?)
◦ …Many such lists exist. As noted above, the most common list is nine persons rather than twelve.
• Temple of sun god (Horus?): A 3,000-year-old temple honoring Horus “houses a dozen rooms.” On this Murdock shares an excerpt from a 1999 Yahoo News article that is now off the internet.
By way of response, however, most experts would not identify Horus as a sun god. Nothing in Murdock's book makes it easy to investigate her claims. A temple with 12 rooms is not strong evidence for a theme of 12, much less the other elaborations she adds on. Several other temples have different numbers of rooms.
• Ptolemaic-era Edfu temple with 12 columns.
By way of response, however, several buildings have 12 columns which have no connection to the Zodiac, and different buildings have different column numbers.
D.M. Murdock: “Also, in the tenth hour of the Amduat, Horus the Elder leaning on his staff is depicted as leading the 12 “drowned” or lost souls to their salvation in the “Fields of the Blessed.” (Erik Hornung, “The Valley of the Kings: Horizon of Eternity, tr. Warburton [Timken Publishers, 1990], 138, 144; “The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife, tr. Lorton [Cornell, 1999_], 40, 51.”) “These 12 deceased, Hornung relates, are “saved from decay and decomposition by Horus, who leads them to a blessed posthumous existence…”
By way of response, however,…
• …It was likely only known by the priesthood. (See Jan Assmann, Egyptian Solar Religion in the New Kingdom, 25). Murdock thinks the masses may have known and regardless, it was “well known by the powerful priesthood, i.e., those who make religions”!
• E. A. Wallis Budge: “On the right of the Boat of Afu-Rā, and facing it, are Horus, and the twelve gods of the hours, who protect the tombs of Osiris, and assist Rā in his journey…” [EHH, III, 85, 153.]
• Karl Baedeker: “Room XIII… On the Left Entrance Wall and the Left Wall appears the sun’s journey during the 7th hour of night… Bottom row. Horus, before whom are the twelve star-gods who conduct the sun at night…” [Egypt: Handbook for Travellers (1902), 275.]
• E. A. Wallis Budge: “On the right hand of the boat of the god are twelve holy gods of the Tuat, each in his shrine, with the doors open, and twelve gods of the lakes of fire…” [The Gods of the Egyptians, I, (1904, ) 182.”] By way of response however, the Book of Gates divides chapters up into hours, and in the fourth hour things are different. The leader is Osiris (not Horus) or the number is eleven rather than twelve. There is also no indication that these are anything like disciples. • E. A. Wallis Budge: “On the right side of the boat of the god are twelve gods, who are described as the “bringers of their doubles,” and twelve jackal-headed figures, who are walking on the Lake of Life… On the left side of the boat of the god is Horus the Aged, who follows eleven human forms as they march behind the uraeus called Flame...to a shrine in which the god Osiris...stands upon a serpent. Behind Osiris are the twelve gods, “who are behind the shrine,” and four gods, who preside over the pits in the earth…” [“The Gods of the Egyptians, I, 184] (cf. Hornung, AEBA, 60, 69.”]
Horus was raised backed to life from the dead.1
This is relevant because Jesus also was raised back to life from the dead (e.g. 1 Cor 15).
In response however, none of these resemble the Jewish notion of resurrection.
Gerald Massey: “…the place of rebirth for Horus the eternal Son was celebrated in the vernal equinox… The double birth of Horus at the two times, or the birth of the babe in the winter solstice and the rebirth as the adult in the Easter equinox is acknowledged in the Egyptian Book of the Divine Birth… it was commanded in the calendar of Esné that the precepts of the Book on the Second Divine Birth of the child Kahi “were to be performed on the first of the month Epiphi” (cited by Lockyer, Dawn of Astronomy, pp. 284-6). The child Kahi is a pseudonym for the child-Horus… Now the first and second “divine births” (or the birth and rebirth) of Horus were celebrated at the festivals of the winter solstice and the Easter equinox, and these are the two times of the two Horuses identified by Plutarch, the first as manifester for Isis, the Virgin Mother, the second as Horus, the Son of God the Father, when he tells us that “Harpocrates (Har the Khart, or child) is born about the winter solstice, immature and infant-like in the plants that flower and spring up early, for which reason they offer to him the first-fruits of growing lentils; and they celebrate her (Isis) being brought to bed after the vernal equinox” (of Is. and Os., ch. 65)... Two different birthdays were likewise assigned to the Greek Apollo. One of these was commemorated by the Delians at the time of the winter solstices; the other by the Delphians in the vernal equinox.” [Ancient Egypt: Light of the World, vol. II, (Kessinger, 1907), 739.] cf. Peter Joseph & D.M. Murdock, The ZEITGEIST Sourcebook, 32, 41.
Horus as a child was raised back to life.1 This is relevant because Jesus too was raised back to life.
In response however,…
• …this was the quick death and raising of Horus as a child. (This is very different from Jesus, who was raised as an adult, and as the central culmination of his ministry.)
• …this was a magical raising that had to obey built-in secret laws of nature. (This is very different from Jesus, who was raised not through secret magical laws built into nature, but freely and miraculously without regard for natural laws.).
• …it was not sacrificial or substitutionary (very different from Jesus: cf. 1 Peter 2:24; 2 Cor 5:21; Rom 4:25.)
• …it was not voluntary (unlike Jesus: cf. John 10:18: John 3:16)
• …it was not connected to the Jewish general resurrection (unlike Jesus's: cf. 1 Cor 15:20-23.) • …it was not done by Horus himself; Horus was only raised by his mother with the teaching of Thoth, god of magic. (By contrast, along with the Father and Spirit, Jesus raised himself [John 2:19].)
Anthony Mercatante: “[Isis] hid [her son, Horus the child]… When she returned, she found him lying dead, foam on his lips,… he had been killed by Set, in the form of scorpion. Isis's cries brought out all the neighbors… Finally, on the advice of Nephtathys, her sister, she appeared before the sun god Ra. …[He as Thoth] descended to earth to comfort her and taught her the spell to restore Horus to life. Isis uttered the magic words, and the poison flowed from her son's body,… the boy was restored.” [Whos Who in Egyptian Mythology (Barnes & Noble, 1978), 74-75.]
Horus is raised as the god of death, Osiris.1
Tryggve N.D. Mettinger:“…Osiris rose to new life in his son, Horus…” [The Riddle of the Resurrection, 172.] There is a lot to say in response, however, so a whole BeliefMap section will be devoted to the alleged parallel between Osiris's resurrection and Jesus's. For now it suffices to say that Horus and Osiris were absolutely not the same person; Osiris was Horus's biological father.
The Egyptian king (Pharoah) was regarded as Horus in death and life (being resurrected with each successive Pharoah). This is relevant because Jesus too was resurrected.
In response however,…
• …Pharoah was only regarded as Horus in life before the fifth dynasty. (So this similarity cherry-picks.)1
• …even during the relevant time, Pharoah was only seen as the god Osiris in death; he was Horus only in life.
• …the Horus as Pharoah was reborn regularly as different persons--Amenhotep was not Rameses II. (This is nothing like Jesus's one-time resurrection.)