Jesus and Santa: Comparing Fundamentalist and Mythicist Parallelomania

Jesus and Santa: Comparing Fundamentalist and Mythicist Parallelomania December 8, 2014

Stuff Fundies Like shared this bit of Christian polemic against Satan…I mean, Santa:

jesusvssanta

jesus-santa-comparison

(If you cannot read the text in the image above, click through to read the chart on the Cutting Edge website).

This is exactly the same way that fundamentalists identify ‘predictions’ in the Jewish Scriptures that supposedly match up with Jesus. And mythicists, being mostly former fundamentalists, accept the claims of similarities that cannot be coincidence, and merely explain them in terms of borrowing.

But a look at the list above ought to lead to a different conclusion, namely that many of the supposed parallels are strained, and in the imagination of the fundamentalist conspiracy theorist, while even those that are not do not tell us anything serious about either Jesus, or Santa, or whether the latter is a satanic imitation – or any other sort of imitation – of the former.

Some get excited at slim connections – “Look, north connects Jesus and Santa – and also, the grassy knoll on the north side of Elm Street in the JFK assassination!” Critical scholarship, on the other hand, has to ask deep, probing questions which allow both for the possibility of borrowing, and the possibility that superficial similarities on a chart designed explicitly to offer such similarities, may obscure more substantive differences.

It is striking that we see this in two very different streams of mythicist – on the one hand, in lists of alleged parallels between Jesus and Inanna or Horus or someone else, and on the other hand, in lists of alleged parallels between New Testament texts and the stories in the Jewish Scriptures from which some (e.g. Thomas Brodie) think they were drawn.

See also the article by Lawrence Mykytiuk in the Biblical Archaeological Society’s Bible History Daily on mythicism and the evidence for Jesus.

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