Metzger on Pagan Parallels with Christianity
“The differences between the Christian sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist and corresponding ceremonies in the Mysteries are as profound as their similarities are superficial.”
The quote above was penned by Bruce M. Metzger, in his article, “Considerations of Methodology in the Study of the Mystery Religions and Early Christianity,” published in the January, 1955 edition of the Harvard Theological Journal (p. 13). Metzger’s conclusions from his study of the methodology of scholars who make much of the parallels between Christianity and pagan mystery religions is that the parallels are analogical, rather than genealogical. In other words, the elements of Christianity which parallel paganism were not derived from paganism, but, as above, “their similarities are superficial.”
Read PaleoBabble’s blog post on this article, and then read the article itself.
In short, don’t be sucked in by the claims of “pagan parallels” as an attempt to discredit the historicity, inspiration and authority of the New Testament, or to relativize it, like Rob Bell was…