No, Jesus And Mithras Weren’t Both Born Of Virgins (Myths About Christianity Debunked)

Unless there is some way to determine if the rock from which sprung Mithras — the ancient mythical god at the heart of the mystery cult known as “Mithraism” — was a virgin, that is.

Mithras petra genetrix Terme

That Jesus’ virgin birth was stolen from the Mithras myth is one of the many allegations raised by Christianity’s critics, ancient and modern. They contend the New Testament authors borrowed heavily from multiple pagan religions to elevate an obscure itinerant preacher named Jesus to divinity.

Not so, contends Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, an expert on such matters who teaches at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). Jones addresses a bunch of the supposed parallels.

For example, besides allegedly sharing the virgin birth, Mithras and Jesus were both resurrected, according to the critics. Here’s how Jones handles the contention:

“Supposed parallel: Mithras rose from the dead on the third day; his followers celebrated his resurrection each year.

“Significant problem: There is no surviving evidence from the pre-Christian era for a resurrection of Mithras on the third day. Because of his association with the sun, it is possible that followers of Mithras celebrated a renewal or rebirth each year.”

“There is no surviving evidence from the pre-Christian era for a resurrection of Mithras on the third day.”

Odds are good that such myths are why many men and women working on Capitol Hill who graduated from college in the last decade or so chose to dismiss or ignore the claims of Jesus Christ.

Too often, they were only told one side of the issue.

Go here for the rest of Jones’ analysis, which, by the way, merely skims the surface of a huge body of academic research that ought to have much wider exposure and consideration on America’s secular campuses.

Photo: Mithras birth rock in the Baths of Diocletian [Public domain]. Wikimedia Commons.

(Full Disclosure: I am an online graduate student at SBTS, but have never had a course under Jones and have no idea if I will in the future).

Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here:

3 thoughts on “No, Jesus And Mithras Weren’t Both Born Of Virgins (Myths About Christianity Debunked)”

  1. It helps to point out, when such questions arise, that the story of Jesus didn’t “begin” at 0, or 4, A.D.; that is is THE story of the universe, so the fact it has echoes everywhere is to be expected; it’s not somehow a diminution of Jesus’ Story to learn there were hints or take-offs of it millenia before…. as C.S. Lewis said so well….

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    1. The gospel of Mathew goes to great lengths to point out to his primarily Jewish audience that Jesus is fulfilling the ancient prophesies about the messiah contained in the Old Testament. Many of them are really amazing like the timeline given in Daniel which gives historical figures and events and is relatively easily traced to the time of Jesus. Mathew even states that the virgin birth is contained in the Old Testament writings of Isaiah. The death of Jesus as an atoning type of event is also contained in Isaiah. The resurrection can be inferred from psalms and other older documents. So the basic ideas go back to long before the first century CE. The Isaiah scroll in the Dead Sea scrolls was radiocarbon dated to at least 100BCE. Mithraism appears to have popped up around 100-200CE.


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