ok, guys, we need to stop talking about this movie. we need to stop recommending that people watch it. in the last week i've seen mention of the movie contributing to one member's abandonment of their faith and another person recommending that a Christian watch it. why am i saying that we need to stop? because the film is total bullshit and rarely, if at ever, intersects with scholarly consensus or reality at any time. you recommend this movie, and someone takes the suggestion and watches it, and you will shoot yourself in the foot if your aim is to convince them of anything, much less to get them to begin a process of questioning anything. if a person, after watching the movie, does what everyone should do, actually do some research into whether or not the film's claims are verifiable, they would find that the claims are absolutely not. the movie is filled with exaggerations, half-truths, and, best case scenario, poor research or, worst case scenario, outright lies and dishonest picking and choosing of source material that backed up the film-maker's presuppositions.
i won't even attend to the crackpot conspiracy theories about the Fed and 9/11- giving that silliness attention only serves to raise its credibility, something no one should be interested in doing. but since this is an atheist community and the film is being relied on and recommended i would like to provide some critical information i've found about the first part of the film, that of the comparisons between Jesus and pagan mythology.
first, the film's sources
an honest appraisal of the evidence for anything naturally includes both the evidence for your assertion and against your assertion. stacking the deck by not including any mention whatsoever of the vast amount of scholarship that flatly denies your claims is dishonest and should make us extremely cautious of the conclusions.
the movie relies largely on the work of two persons, Gerald Massey and "Acharya S", that name being the pen name of Dorothy M. Murdock.
Massey was born, lived, and wrote between 1828 and 1907. he was NOT a trained Egyptologist and his work was and still is ignored by Egyptologists. in fact, his name doesn't appear in M. L. Bierbrier’s Who Was Who in Egyptology
(3rd ed, 1995) and none of his work appears in Ida B. Pratt’s very extensive bibliography on Ancient Egypt (1925/1942)[1
]. taking your information from a source such as this calls into question the entire premise. we must ask why the film-maker has to resort to this kind of source- from the 19th and early 20th century, non-scholarly, totally ignored work- if there are respectable sources available to rely on?
Ms. Murdock at least, according to her website
, is trained in the subject matter. but her conclusions too are totally rejected by the scholarly consensus. W. Ward Gasque, in investigating similar claims made by the author Tom Harpur
, sent an email to twenty leading Egyptologists from Canada, USA, UK, Australia, Germany, and Austria. he included a sample of Harpur's (and by extension and similarity, Murdock's) claims and asked these Egyptologists their opinion on the conclusions. Gasque writes, "The responding scholars were unanimous in dismissing the suggested etymologies for Jesus and Christ." Robert M. Price, himself a "mythicist" believing that Jesus Christ never existed and is a total myth, reviewed Murdock's book
, The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold
, and laments that "Those of us who uphold any version of the controversial Christ Myth theory find ourselves immediately the object not just of criticism, but even of ridicule. And it causes us chagrin to be lumped together with certain writers with whom we share the Christ Myth but little else
. even though he himself is a mythicist he finds her scholarship on the subject lacking- "She is quick to state as bald fact what turn out to be, once one chases down her sources, either wild speculation or complex inference from a chain of complicated data open to many interpretations... The Christ Conspiracy
is a random bag of (mainly recycled) eccentricities, some few of them worth considering, most dangerously shaky, many outright looney." Price's review is not a kind one. we should mention that "Acharya" means "guru" or "teacher"
and that Ms. Murdock is apparently a follower of "New Age Spirituality" and its attending pseudo-scientific tripe. is it any wonder then that in her book she cites as sources James Churchward, promoter of the imaginary lost continent of Mu
; Charles Berlitz
, apologist for sunken Atlantis; Zechariah Sitchin
, advocate of flying saucers in ancient Akkadia.
i could go into more of the film's sources but they are all of the same character- dated and eclipsed by more recent scholarship, of the type that's been called "fringe nonsense"
, or both. it's worth mentioning too that the attribution of the sources on the movie's page is just poor- no page citations to enable someone to verify the specific statements that are being attributed to these authors. you'd have to read the entire book to verify that the statements made by the film-maker are accurate and in context. as i began, a fair and honest treatment of the evidence would have included the evidence against the film-maker's assertions as well as that for his assertions. here we find none of that whatsoever.
as for the specific claims the film makes...
Bruce Metzger on the difficulties of making comparisons between Jes...
Richard Carrier on the Luxor inscription referred to in the movie.
Edward Winston on the film's sources.
Tim Callahan on the movie's claims.
Jim Lippard on the movie (including the 2nd and 3rd parts).
Jay Kinney on the movie.
a reasonable and well researched refutation of Ms. Murdock's claims...
an answer to Ms. Murdock's response to the above refutation.
another Christian site addressing the idea of Jesus as a copy cat m...
Rook Hawkins on some problems in Ms. Murdock's work.
Bart Ehrman commenting on Christ Myth theorists.
to finish up this post i'll let the film-maker himself give us all some advice. there's a "Statement" page on the movie's page
. though the statement has been changed from what it once read there are places on the internet where the original statement has been preserved
. the original statement finished by saying, "...it is my hope that people will not take what is said in the film as the truth, but find out for themselves..."- i couldn't agree more and i urge everyone to do just that.