Unmasking the Pagan Christ

Unmasking the Pagan ChristThis was the first book that I ever wrote. Although the original goal was to respond to a book by Tom Harpur, it really responds to the Jesus Myth in general.

In this book, Stanley Porter and I really examine the Jesus myth theory in general, using Tom Harpur’s book as a case study.  If you have never heard of Tom Harpur, but have been confronted by the claims of Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy, D.M. Murdock (Acharya S), Robert Price or those of the Zeitgeist movie, this book will be of interest to you. In our book, we look at some of the older works that modern writers base their books on.  We then look at the claims that the Jesus story is based on pagan myths, especially those of Egypt and Mithraism.  When one actually examines the myths, it is quickly apparent that the Gospels have very little to do with pagan myths.  We then look at the historical basis of the story of Jesus.  We confront claims that Josephus’ testimony is a forgery, that Paul never spoke of the historical Jesus and that the Gospels are not historical.  We conclude that there is a firm historical basis for the existence of Jesus Christ.

Unmasking the Pagan Christ: An Evangelical Response to the Cosmic Christ Idea won the 2007 Word Guild Award of Merit in the area of Evangelism and Apologetics. A documentary was made of this book, produced by David Brady Productions.

You can purchase Unmasking the Pagan Christ from Amazon and other fine booksellers.


“This book refutes the idea Christianity burrowed from ancient Egyptian religion. It does so by quoting the actual texts from Egyptian religion, and setting them beside Christian texts for comparison. It was an excellent book.” – Discerning Reader

“This concise work decisively counters the myth that the findings of Egyptology present damaging blows to the Christian faith. Chapter by chapter, Porter and Bedard tackle each premise and take them apart with consistent logic thereby showing the fallacious nature of the argument that Christianity depends on ancient Egyptian mythology.” – GHaze

“This book is a readable and short response to Tom Harpur’s The Pagan Christ, which argues that Jesus never existed except as an allegorical understanding of true spirituality. New Testament scholars and historians usually avoid such marginal ideas, but – as Porter and Bedard explain – Harpur has garnered more attention than most advocates of the Jesus Myth (the notion that Jesus did not really exist).” – C. Price

“Thankfully, there are people out there like Bedard and Porter who are doing the work to make sure that this kind of material is dealt with. A large number of scholars have had the right attitude towards mythicism (This is nonsense) but had the wrong response. (Therefore if we ignore it, it will just go away.) This is especially so for Christian scholars who ignore this not at their peril, but at the peril of their fellow Christians who aren’t as equipped.” – Nick Peters

“Just who was Jesus? Each generation sees a new crop of thinkers re-presenting Jesus variously as a proto-Marxist or a deranged messiah figure or a wise man. Recently, radical revisionists who claim Jesus is nothing more than a literary-religious myth have gained a bit of popularity. Canada’s contribution to this school is Tom Harpur, whose The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light was first published in 2004.

Drawing on the writings of 19th- and early 20th-century authors Gerald Massey and Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Harpur argues the Jesus story is not rooted in actual events but in the dying-and-rising-god myth that appears in so many ancient near-Eastern cultures.

Ontario writers Stanley Porter, principal and dean at McMaster Divinity College, and Stephen Bedard, pastor of the Woodford and First Baptist churches in Meaford, have collaborated to offer a point-by-point challenge to Harpur’s position.

Their 11-chapter book is superbly organized. It opens by summarizing Harpur’s claims and explaining the modern history of such claims. Already, serious challenges to the scholarship of Massey, Kuhn and, by implication, Harpur are levelled. These are then expanded in chapters four through eight, where the authors patiently and ably demonstrate the uniqueness of the Christian Gospel compared to the ancient myths of Horus and Mithras.

The next three chapters offer three kinds of biblical and extrabiblical evidence for the existence of Jesus.

Why would someone of Harpur’s scholarly credentials and experience continue to accept the pseudo-scholarship of Massey and Kuhn? Answering that is the book’s fitting conclusion.

The book’s style is accessible to a broad readership. Its arguments are exemplary, focused on evidence, progressing clearly and never confusing criticism with caterwauling.” – Tim Perry