It’s time to close out our commentary on the Zeitgeist Companion and Mithra.
Epithets and Titles. ZC pulls up a number of alleged parallel titles between Mithra and Jesus, but we can dispense with some of them as unsupported from the start, as they all come from sources that are not credible Mithraic scholars (Berry, Pabarz). We can also dispense with many as irrelevant, such as Mithra being the lord of contracts – Jesus never had such a title. The remainder, as I note in STCM, are commonplaces that would be claimed by any deity as deserving titles of honor (such as “lord of heaven and earth”). Apparently ZC cannot conceive of the idea that no deity (real or false) would refuse to claim such a title simply because some other deity already claimed it.
Sunday worship. While this one may be a real parallel, there is no evidence of a connection of Mithra to Sunday until after the advent of Christianity. ZC claims it is “possibly” true that such Sunday worship goes back some 3000 years with Mithra, but “possibly” is not evidence or argument. ZC provides no such evidence or arguments; they provide only claims from sources that are badly outdated and erroneous (the Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia, which contains, for example, an incorrect claim that Mithra was part of a trinity) or by non-experts (like Berry). Their one piece of “evidence” comes from a source, Gonda, who says that “..the deity is invoked every Sunday under the name of Mitra in a small pitcher placed on a small earthen platform..” The original sources of this claim, however, indicate that this is a very late festival observance, one described as present-day in a book written in the 1950s.
Thus ends our look at ZC on Mithraism. If this is the best quality that can be had from the Jesus myth/copycat crowd, we’re in for an easy time of it.