Some thoughts on the historical Jesus and the archetypal Christ

Cover of "Christ Is Born (Christmas 2005 ...
Cover via Amazon

Regarding the historicity of Jesus Christ, I have recently received an email update from Acharya S (aka D.M. Murdock), which I subscribed to, about “Christmas is an ancient celebration of light, with many gods born on December 25th”. (Acharya S is the author of “The Christ Conspiracy” and other related books, and her book was featured in Zeitgeist movie part 1.)

“Some of these solstice-born or resurrected gods included Mithra, Horus/Osiris, the Greek god Dionysus and the Phrygian savior Attis. While these gods possessed many other attributes and were not considered strictly to be sun gods, they were indeed part of the vast solar pantheon of antiquity.

As we can see, the many gods were syncretized as one solar deity, and the reason for all these entities to be born at this winter solstice is because they were considered sun gods.

Many other times of the month of December, as well as the last couple weeks of November through to January 15th or so, have been full of light festivals, including the famous Roman celebration of Saturnalia and Scandinavian Yuletide. Numerous other such festivities as can be seen in the image included here from my astrotheology calendar, which is adjusted to the year 1 AD/CE. Some of these celebrations date to thousands if not tens of thousands of years ago.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ (John 8:12)

As a human being, Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. However, Jesus, the “Light of the World,” is demonstrably a remake of ancient solar deities. In this sense, Christ is born at the winter solstice or on December 25th, as are so many other gods of light.”

(From “Christmas is an ancient celebration of light, with many gods born on December 25” by D.M. Murdock)

It is good to know a bit more about the history of Christmas – from my understanding so far, it was originally a “very ancient festival celebrating light and the sun’s “birth,” as the hours of daylight increase following the winter solstice“, which was later christianised, as noted below.

“Here is precisely where “Christmas” comes from, except that the Christian celebration is not about the Roman sun god Sol Invictus, the Persian god of light Mithra, the Egyptian solar deity Horus, or the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu. Instead, the winter solstice celebration has been changed into the birth of the Judeo-Christian “sun of righteousness,” Jesus Christ. (Malachi 4:2)”

(From “Christmas is an ancient celebration of light, with many gods born on December 25” by D.M. Murdock)

My take on the mythological nature of Christ is that even though Jesus may be a syncretised mythical or fictional character instead of a historical character, who mirrors other legendary god-man saviours/messiahs from other cultures and traditions, I can still learn from the wisdom in his parables and the compassion in his acts of healing and lifting up the downtrodden and weary. I can also see him as an archetype of my highest self (according to Jung psychology).

I think the following passage from this article “Christ, a symbol of the Christ” by Jerry Wright shares an interesting view about Christ as the archetype of the potential “greater personality” in every individual, and the life of Christ can be seen as representing our personal evolution of the Self (from incarnation to maturity).

“There are multiple implications of preserving the distinction between the historical Jesus and the archetypal/symbolic Christ, both for individuals and religious institutions and groups. For the individual, the archetypal Christ is not limited to one man, Jesus, but can be seen as the potential “greater personality” in every individual. Understood psychologically, the life of Christ represents the various phases and expressions of the Self as it undergoes incarnation in an individual ego, that is, the various stages of the process of individuation.

From this psychological perspective, the classical “imitation of Christ” would not mean that we are to try to “copy” Jesus, but that we are to live our individual lives as fully, as authentically, and as obediently (to a greater Source) as Jesus lived his. Psychologically, this is the individuation process; theologically, it is the process of redemption and sanctification.”

(From “Christ, a symbol of the Christ” by Jerry Wright)

I think that while there may be no clear historical records yet of Jesus, there is always a possibility that a historical Jesus existed, in view of his profound words and noble life, in which he lived loved and loving others. He lived with the knowledge he was loved by the Father (who could be referring to highest self or universal consciousness of Divine Love that is one with all creation), and he loved others with the same unconditional, inclusive, universal and everlasting love. That may be the reason he was resurrected because love cannot be destroyed and love never fails. His resurrection was testimony to the loving and non-violent nature of God/Divine.

I think it is unfortunate that in much of mainstream Christianity, the historical Jesus has been “hijacked” by those who took his words and existence literally and out of context to exclude others from the family of God. As noted by the article, God is not confined by the dogmatic boxes of any religion.

“Differentiating the historical Jesus and the archetypal Redeemer (Christ) has implications for religious groups and institutions, as well. With the recognition that the archetypal Redeemer has multiple — perhaps unlimited — manifestations, the Christian Church, as well as other religious groups and institutions, are cautioned against exclusive claims to truth. A literalistic understanding of Jesus (or any other central religious figure/leader) leads to lethal divisions through claims that “God is our God and has no other children but us,” which Jungian analyst Murray Stein calls a transference illusion. In our highly pluralistic society, and a world shrinking every day, it is imperative that religious people of every stripe break through that illusion and consider that God is not bound to a particular tribe, nor confined by the dogmatic boxes of any religion. The divine Spirit is not a commodity controlled by religious corporations; instead, as Jung poetically writes, “a living spirit (which) grows and even outgrows its earlier forms of expression…This living spirit is eternally renewed and pursues its goal in manifold and inconceivable ways throughout the history of mankind…the names and forms which men have given it mean very little; they are the changing leaves and blossoms on the stem of the eternal tree.” (CW:11:par.538)”

(From “Christ, a symbol of the Christ” by Jerry Wright)

At the same time, I think there are many people in Christian circles, such as the more mystically inclined groups in Catholicism and Celtic spirituality, who also believe in a historical Jesus and practise compassion and unconditional acceptance of all people, regardless of their background, belief system and so on. It is just unfortunate that they are often overshadowed in the media by the more vocal and showy believers from the fundamentalist Christian circles who seek to propagate their version of Jesus that excludes those who do not believe the same way as they do, as reflected in their separatist doctrines that condemn gays, that look forward to the physical return of a literal Jesus to judge the whole world, and so on.

It is understandable therefore that many of us who left institutional churches would want to have little to do with that kind of historical Jesus. But as we have seen earlier, it may be possible to reconcile a historical Jesus who served his purpose to demonstrate love and reconciliation to a predominantly Jewish audience and a symbolical Christ who is the kindred spirit that unites all humankind.

Related posts

Living in a world of symbolism

Christmas is an ancient celebration of light, with many gods born on December 25

Christ, a symbol of the Christ

5 Comments Add yours

    1. jimmytst says:

      Thank you for your encouraging comment, Nelson. Peace and blessings to you.

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