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Tribute to Mythicist D.M. Murdock, 1961-2015

By Jenniferg ~

A couple of weeks ago, on You Tube, I stumbled upon a beautiful,articulate woman, D.M. Murdock (also known as Acharya S.) mythicist, scholar, anthropologist,archeologist and writer. I was fascinated by her two-hour presentation about the Christ myth theory.While I’ve heard general claims by skeptics about Christianity being founded on ancient myths, I’ve never come across such an extensive presentation on the subject. Massachusetts-born Murdock, was an independent scholar of comparative religion and anthology.

I write of Murdock in the past tense, because on visiting her website, I learned that she had been diagnosed with inflammatory Stage IV breast cancer in April 2015. She sadly drew her last breath on Christmas Day 2015. Saddened by this news of someone with so much more to give to the world, I write this article in tribute to Dorothy M. Murdock, 1961-2015.

In a phone interview with the writer on Mythicist Milwaukee, Murdock’s credentials are introduced as follows: She holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in the Classics and Greek Civilization, from Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania. She is a member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens,Greece.  She was a trench master of archeological excavation Corinth, as well as Connecticut (under the auspices of archeologist, Dr. Kenneth L. Feder.)

Murdock published her first book, in 1999, arguing theJesus Christ concept to be myth. She posits the Jesus Christ story to be nothing but afabrication.

In 2007, Murdock acted aschief consulting author for the “Christ myth theory” portion of Zeitgeist, adocumentary film by Peter Joseph that by all reports went viral on theinternet. 

In the preface of The Zeistgeist Sourcebook: Part 1 — The Greatest Story Ever Told, Murdoch writes, “I  have  spent  the  past several  years defending this… and bringing  forth its sources into  the  light  of  day.  I  have written  not only  a  number  of  articles and eBooks  but  also  a  nearly  600 page book about Christ  in  Egypt:  The Horus - Jesus  connection elucidating  upon  these  sources, highlighting the very  profound correspondences  between  Christianity and  the  ancient  Egyptian  religion. I have also done a number of videos and audio recordings on this subject as well… There are over 150 sources cited in this Sourcebook, in nearly 350 footnotes.”

Murdock’s 2009 work, The Gospel According to Acharya S., is a comparative study of mythology and religion in which she wrote a chapter titled“Abraham is Brahma? Moses is Dionysus?” Her treatise on whether Moses existed issaid to be the most comprehensive study to date.

Over the years Murdock’s theories have for the most part drawn negativecommentaries from academic scholars such as Bart Erhman and Robert M. Price, the latter who laterrecanted his criticisms of Murdock’s research.

On her website, Truth Be Known, Price wrote, "I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock... I find it undeniable that...many, many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets and constellations..." —Dr. Robert M. Price, The Pre-Nicene New Testament.

Ehrman, however, was not as magnanimous as Price.  He was particularly critical of Murdock’s book The Christ Conspiracy published in 1999.  In his book Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman discusses The Christ Conspiracy which he calls"the breathless conspirator's dream." Ehrman says "…All ofAcharya's major points are in fact wrong" and her book "is filled with so manyfactual errors and outlandish assertions that it is hard to believe the author isserious."  "Mythicists of this ilk should not be surprised that theirviews are not taken seriously by real scholars, mentioned by experts in the field, or even read bythem. As a rebuttal to Ehrman's critiques, Robert M. Price, Richard Carrier, D.M. Murdock, and others, published the book Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth (2013).

Murdock responds on her blog,“All of my major points are wrong?!”  She contends one of her majorpoints is that the gospels “come long after Jesus’ death, written by people whonever saw the man.” If that point is wrong,” Murdock argues, “so toois Ehrman’s contention of same, when he asserts that the four canonical gospels were notwritten by those in whose name they are pretended to be.”

On her Free Thought Nation blog, Murdock quotes someof Ehrman’s statements from his April 1, 2012, National Public Radio (NPR) interview, DidJesus Exist? The interviewer summarizes New Testament scholar Ehrman’s views on the debateabout whether or not Jesus Christ is a mythical figure:

“Mythicists’ arguments are fairlyplausible, Ehrman says. According to them, Jesus was never mentioned in any Roman sources and thereis no archeological evidence that Jesus ever existed. Even Christian sources are problematic– the Gospels come long after Jesus’ death, written by people who never saw theman…. Most importantly…these mythicists point out that there are Pagan godswho were said to die and rise again and so the idea is that Jesus was made up as a Jewish god whodied and rose again…. The mythicists have some right things to say… TheGospels do portray Jesus in ways that are non-historical.”

Here Ehrman seems to recant his earlier criticism ofthe likes of Murdock’s findings.

In her interview with Mythicist MilwaukeeMurdock laments that the vast majority of historians are not familiar with the [findings and writings of mythicists] Many writings of skeptic sand critics of the day were destroyed but some were preserved in the polemics. Murdock said that modern historians tend not to question why writings by Christianity’s detractors were destroyed and not preserved. She expresses disappointment about fellow skeptics’ lack of support for her efforts. She voices that skeptical [academic] scholars were difficult to approach as well as being contentious. Her work being resisted at every turn by religionist fanatics, she stated that she would make great progress if she had a team of open minded skeptical scholars in multiple disciplines to access possible hidden archives in the Vatican, but there are simply “too many biases and push backs.”

One example of Murdock’s research regarding the Jesus Christ contrivance, showsthat it was ‘prophesied’ Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem. Jesus was said tohave come from Nazareth.  In the New Testament Jesus is written about as ‘Jesusthe Nazarene’ - "We have, in fact, found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitatoramong all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes"(Acts 24:5, New Revised Standard Version).

According to Murdock, Nazarenes of which the character, Samson, was a member, indeedcomes from an Old Testament sect. Murdock says the Nazarenes were skilled carpenters and in fact hada carpenters’ guild. Wine making was also a strong motif in mythology –Dionysus(Bacchus) being the god of the vine, grape harvest, wine making, wine, religious ecstasy andtheatre.  Murdock asserts that these were all factors incorporated into the interpolationof the Greek language a century later in the invention of Jesus the Nazarene.

Murdock’s states that her research is drawn from primary sources as well theworks  from “credentialed  authorities  in a  variety  of  relevant subjects.” 

D.M. Murdock departed this planet all too soon.

She writes, “Indeed, I have strived to include the best and most thorough scholarly and modern sources wherever possible, with the result that many authorities cited here possess credentials from respected institutes of higher learning, and their publishers are some of the most scholarly inEnglish (and other languages.) Murdock’s body of work has gained respect and high praisefrom a number of academics. Here are some website testimonials:

"Murdock's scholarship is relentless! ...there search conducted by D.M. Murdock concerning the myth of Jesus Christ is certainly both valuableand worthy of consideration." —Dr. Kenneth L. Feder, Professor of Archaeology, Central Connecticut State University, Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology

"Acharya S deserves to be recognized as a leading researcher and an expert inthe field of comparative mythology, on a par with James Frazer or Robert Graves—indeed,superior to those forerunners in the frankness of her conclusions and the volume of her evidence." —Barbara Walker, The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets and Man Made God. 

“I’ve known people with triple Ph.D’s who haven’tcome close to the scholarship in Who Was Jesus?” —Pastor David Bruce,M.Div, North Park Seminary, Chicago,

Said one commentator on her website, “TheMythicist, Scholar, Anthropologist, and Archaeologist who has demonstrated to us Truth aboutReligion and Myth over the years, has passed [,] on a key Mythic/Julian original Solstice date ofDecember 25th.”

Let’shope that modern academics would put aside their biases and egos, and like Robert Price have openminds to take up the remarkable body of research mined by Murdock and build upon it.

For further viewing and reading: