Discover more in these hand-picked books What you think;  what others say.
Stuff you need to know before the POCM makes sense. Ideas, rituals and myths Christianity boosted from the Pagans. Some of the Pagan's dying-resurrected godmen The Triumph of Christianity You are here. What did the Christians borrow? So what?
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Who you gonna trust? Sourcebooks


Who can you trust? Christianity's Pagan origin is something people take sides over. It's hard to trust someone who's sat down on one side of a question. And as to academics, well, faith trumps fact, and modern academic orthodoxy is dominated by believing scholars whose faith tells them Christianity is unique and true.

Who you trust is up to you. I trust the ancients.

A sourcebook  
A sourcebook is a collection of primary documents, in our case a book with excerpts from ancient authors who wrote about Pagan religion and early Christianity. The advantage of a sourcebook is you don't have to trust a secondary writer to give you the straight skinny, you get the facts firsthand.  

Were miracles an important part of pre-Christian religion? Personally I can listen to modern writers grinding their axes on one side or the other, and not be sure. But when I read the ancients themselves, and over and over, hundreds and hundreds of times, they write about Asclepius healing the sick, Apollo prophesying, and Dionysus turning water into wine, then I don't have any doubt. Pagan's believed in miracles. Pagans believed in lots of miracles. Pagans believed in lots of miracles generations before Jesus was born.

The good news is a number of folks have put together sourcebooks focused on Pagan religion and Christian origins. For a few dollars and a few evenings reading, you can find out about pre-Christian ideas, myths, and rituals, right from the pens of the ancients themselves.

The Ancient Mysteries : A Source book
Sacred Texts of the Mystery Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean World
Marvin W. Meyer (Editor)

Who you gonna trust?  The ancients. Believing scholars shade the facts in favor of the myth.  Non-believers exaggerate and make up facts and connections as a way to attack the church. 

So who are you going to trust?  That's up to you.  I trust the ancients -- people alive back when Christianity began, and before. That's what this book is about.

This is a sourcebook, is a collection of primary documents -- excerpts from ancient authors who wrote about Pagan religion and early Christianity.  It's a great collection, with the original text of most of the standard ancient references to the pagan mystery religions.

This is a powerful book. You'll discover firsthand, right from the pens of the ancients themselves,  that Dionysus came to earth "incognito, disguised as a man"; that Pagan Gods died and were reborn with the meaning that "the God is saved, and we shall have salvation."; that pagans had initiation ceremonies seen as "a voluntary death", sacred meals shared with the God, ceremonial washing, Pagan miracles, a Godman who changed water into wine, and a Pagan version of the great flood.  And much more.  


An important book that no serious student will be without. Highly recommended.

Available at Amazon .com.


Isis and Osiris in Moralia V
Loeb Classical Library #306

by Plutarch

This is the same Plutarch who wrote Plutarch's Lives.  Like Solon, Plato and Pythagoras before him, when he wasn't biographying Plutarch traveled to Egypt and studied the mysteries of Isis and Osiris -- probably even got initiated (though he doesn't say for sure).

Isis and Osiris, at just over 90 pages, is modern scholarship's main source for the goodies on one of the ancient world's big name Pagan religions. 

This Loeb translation is pretty easy to read. And fun. You'll discover "accounts of the dismemberment of Osiris and his revivification and regenesis" [Isis and Osiris, 365] -- His death and resurrection!  


Be careful, there are a bunch of P's Moralias in print at Loeb and elsewhere. For Isis and Osiris, you want number V, which is Loeb #306.

And the good thing is, you don't have to believe me, you can read it for yourself. Available at


The Golden Ass
or The Metamorphosis
by Apuleius

The ancients had novels (who knew?!), and this is one of them.  And, believe it or not, it's a fun read, lighthearted, funny, and well written. The story moves.  For the boys: it even has explicit sex. Amazing.  Who knew?!

The story is about Lucius' adventures after he gets turned into a donkey.  The first ten chapters are just fun, not related to the Pagan origins.

Chapter eleven is about Lucius in Egypt, and his study and initiation into the mysteries of Isis and Osiris (he's a man again by this point).  For the ancients these mysteries were sacred secrets -- believers would die rather than reveal them.  Apuleius' novel is the only surviving text that comes close to describing the mystery initiation ceremony.  Apuleius also says initiation brought salvation:

"The keys of hell and the guarantee of salvation were in the hands of the goddess, and the initiation ceremony itself a kind of voluntary death and salvation through divine grace."

And the good thing is, you don't have to believe me, you can read it for yourself. Available at


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