Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
Page: 294If the life of Jesus of Nazareth, as related in the books of the New Testament, be in part the story of a man who really lived and suffered, that story has been so interwoven with images borrowed [Pg 509]from myths of a bygone age, as to conceal forever any fragments of history which may lie beneath them. Gautama Buddha was undoubtedly an historical personage, yet the Sun-god myth has been added to his history to such an extent that we really know nothing positive about him. Alexander the Great was an historical personage, yet his history is one mass of legends. So it is with Julius Cesar, Cyrus, King of Persia, and scores of others. "The story of Cyrus' perils in infancy belongs to solar mythology as much as the stories of the magic slipper, of Charlemagne and Barbarossa. His grandfather, Astyages, is purely a mythical creation, his name being identical with that of the night demon, Azidahaka, who appears in the Shah-Nameh as the biting serpent."
The actual Jesus is inaccessible to scientific research. His image cannot be recovered. He left no memorial in writing of himself; his followers were illiterate; the mind of his age was confused. Paul received only traditions of him, how definite we have no means of knowing, apparently not significant enough to be treasured, nor consistent enough to oppose a barrier to his own speculations. As M. Renan says: "The Christ who communicates private revelations to him is a phantom of his own making;" "it is himself he listens to, while fancying that he hears Jesus."