C.S. Lewis Challenges the Jesus Myth

Certain forms of the Jesus Myth Theory make a big deal out of the dying and rising theme where the experience of a god represents what is taking place in nature with regard to seasons and the harvest. Some of this emerges from James Frazier’s The Golden Bough.

While I see many of the supposed dying and rising gods as not really fitting that description, there are religious traditions as described by Frazier.

C.S. Lewis lived in a time when Frazier was very influential. You will see Lewis interacting with him in a number of books if you know where to look. I found this particular statement by Lewis in Miracles to be very interesting:

C.S. LewisI myself, who first seriously read the New Testament when I was, imaginatively and poetically, all agog for the Death and Re-birth pattern and anxious to meet the corn-king, was chilled and puzzled by the almost total absence of such ideas in the Christian documents. One moment particularly stood out. A “dying God”—the only dying God who might possibly be historical—holds bread, that is, corn, in His hand and says, “This is my body.” Surely here, even if nowhere else—or surely if not here, at least in the earliest comments on this passage and through all later devotional usage in ever swelling volume—the truth must come out; the connection between this and the annual drama of the crops must be made. But it is not. It is there for me. There is no sign that it was there for the disciples or 9humanly speaking) for Christ Himself. It is almost as if He didn’t realize what He had said. (p. 118)

You can find more on this topic on my Jesus Myth page.


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