Is Jesus based on the Ancient Egyptian god Horus?

We take a look at the claim that Jesus is just a copycat of the Ancient Egyptian god Horus.

is jesus based on horus?

Since I first studied other religions in year 3 at school, I have always been fascinated by the different faith systems. This has led me to study in-depth both classical and modern religions from around the world and, while I’m no professor, I like to think I have a reasonably solid understanding of most major faith systems, excluding Jainism and Shintoism.

It was with some confusion, therefore, that I first learned that many people believe that Jesus is just the latest in a string of ‘copycat’ saviours who are all replicas of one another.

Here we look at the claim that Jesus is just a copycat of the Ancient Egyptian god Horus.

What’s Claimed

By looking through the internet, watching Zeitgeist and chatting with a couple of people who believe it, these are the things that the story of Jesus copies from the story of Horus:

  • Horus was born of a virgin called Isis on 25 December in a cave.
  • He had an earthly father named Seb, which translates to Joseph.
  • His birth was foretold by a star in the east, which three wise men followed to see him.
  • He was baptised by Anup the Baptiser.
  • Horus had 12 disciples.
  • Horus performed miracles, like raising El-Osiris from the dead and walking on water.
  • He gave a sermon on the mount.
  • They both were crucified between two thieves before being buried for three days and being resurrected.
  • Both were known by the following titles: Christ, anointed one, the way the truth and light, messiah, son of man.

If, of course, this is true then it would be fair to say that Jesus was a copycat of Horus; but let’s examine each of these claims a bit closer.

Horus was born of a virgin Isis on 25 December in a cave

  • Horus’ mother was indeed Isis but there are no Egyptologists who claim she was a virgin. She was a goddess married to Horus’ father, Osiris.
  • The legend of Horus’ birth, according to Plutarch, involved Isis making love to the dead body of Osiris and Horus being conceived from that.
  • There is no evidence that Horus was born in a cave. James Frazer, considered one of the founding fathers of modern anthropology and who studied Ancient Egypt, claimed Horus was born in a swamp.
  • Horus’ birthday is disputable, with Plutarch saying it was around the winter solstice while other sources claim it was in late November. Either way, this doesn’t actually matter as Christians don’t claim 25 December is Jesus’ birthday, but celebrate it there as symbolism of light re-entering the world.

He had an earthly father named Seb, which translates to Joseph

is jesus based on horus?
Seb (Geb) The god of the earth, laying on the ground
  • In Egyptian mythology, Seb is God of the Earth and is never said to be the father of Horus.
  • Seb was Osiris’ father in some accounts, so there may be some mash up of these two facts.
  • Seb doesn’t translate to Joseph and is better translated as Geb.

His birth was foretold by a star in the east, which three wise men followed to see him

  • There is no evidence or account of either of these claims.
  • The bible doesn’t state the number of wise men; that’s a song where they’re known as kings.

He was baptised by Anup the Baptiser

  • There is no evidence or account of this person ever existing.

Horus had 12 disciples

  • Several sources, like Barbara Watterson in her book Gods of Ancient Egypt, mentions Horus had four followers but there are none that claim 12.
  • Horus was meant to also have a load of metal workers, so maybe this is where they are getting this from.

Horus performed miracles, like raising El-Osiris from the dead and walking on water

  • As a deity, Horus did perform some miracles.
  • There is no account of him walking on water.
  • There is no account of him raising Osiris from the dead. Osiris stayed in the underworld and became God of the dead.
  • Why are they referring to Osiris as El-Osiris? El was never put in front of Osiris’ name as it doesn’t function that way in the Egyptian language.

He gave a sermon on the mount

is jesus based on horus?

  • There is no evidence or account of this claim.

They both were crucified between two thieves before being buried for three days and being resurrected

  • There is no evidence or account of this claim.
  • The first written evidence of deities in Egypt comes from the Early Dynastic Period (cerca 3,100 – 2,686 BC). The first historical record of crucifixion was about 519 BC, by the Persians. The legend of Horus was well established literally thousands of years before crucifixion was even a concept.

Both were known by the following titles: Christ, anointed one, the way, the truth and light, messiah, son of man

  • There is no evidence or account of this claim.

Conclusion

Jesus is clearly not a rewritten saviour based on the Ancient Egyptian god Horus. There is no original source evidence to lend many of the claims a shed of validity. These claims about Horus should be viewed as nothing more than a poorly put-together hoax.