, 52 tweets, 13 min read
Was #Jesus a #mythical figure based on the #Sumerian #god #Dumuzi and the Babylonian god #Tammuz?
Um, #No, and here is why.
Dumuzi was the Sumerian god of Shepherds, the underworld and vegetation (though as we are about to see, he wasn’t really much of a god…). He was married (some sources say just a lover) of the goddess Inanna. He is identified with the Babylonian god Tammuz, whose tales share many
a similarity with that of Dumuzi. (though there are interesting differences). He was classed as one of the so-called “dying and Rising” gods of antiquity, though the “Dying and Rising” category has fallen out of academic favor.
Jesus mythicists will try to state that Dumuzi and or Tammuz were a basis for the story of Jesus.
Is this true?
And we’re about to see why.
Special Note: Due to the fact that most scholars identify Dumuzi with Tammuz, they will at times treat them like the same god. Indeed, sometimes, when referring to a myth of Tammuz, they will call him Dumuzi, and some have at times stated that Tammuz was a Sumerian god, even
though in reality he is Babylonian (Dumuzi is Sumerian). Scholarship tends to blend the two, and their stories admittedly are very similar. However, their stories also have differences, and I will try to make sure that I point them out as much as possible in this article.
Son of a god?
The vast majority of male gods were, what’s your point?
And plus, Jesus isn’t simply the son of a God, but God the Son, a part of the Trinity of God. He existed before his birth. (John 1:1-3, 8:56-58).
Big difference, pal.
Born of a virgin?
Neither Dumuzi nor Tammuz were said to have been born of a virgin. There is a book that repeatedly talks about Tammuz’s “Virgin Mother”, but this is in reference to the earth, not to a real virgin mortal or goddess. He's no more born of a Virgin than Adam.
Born in Bethlehem?
There was a shrine in Bethlehem to Tammuz, but this was after the Jewish revolts against Rome, both of which postdate Christ. Indeed, at least the latter Jewish war or revolt postdates the entire New testament.
There was no shrine of the Sumerian Dumuzi there.
Poor Dumuzi.
Acharya S, one of the most prominent Jesus Mythicists, has said that Tammuz was “representative of the spirit of the corn”. This is supposed to connect Tammuz with Bethlehem, which in Hebrew means “House of Bread” or, in her odd “translation” of the passage, “House of Corn”.
Well, I guess Tammuz must be associated with Tony the Tiger, since the latter is the cartoon spokesman for Kellogg’s Frosted (corn) flakes.
I also have to object to her “translation” of Bethlehem. I’ve heard of alternative translations of the Hebrew word Bethlehem (“House of (the god) Lahmu” (a Mesopotamian god), “Fighting”, etc), but never “House of Corn”. Indeed, the Greek version of the name also means (DRUM ROLL)
“House of Bread”. Though some scholars believe that the translation “How of (the god) Lahmu” is the better translation, most sources will state that Bethlehem means in both Hebrew and Greek…House of Bread.
Called “Shepherd”?
Both Dumuzi and Tammuz were both Shepherd gods, as well as shepherds by occupation.
However, Jesus was only referred to as shepherd in the metaphorical sense. His occupations were being a Rabbi and a carpenter (Mark 6:3, 9:5)
Indeed, rulers were often referred to as shepherds in the ancient world. Both ”shepherd” and “Good Shepherd” were used at times by the ancient Egyptians for their pharaohs. Likewise, Moses, Joshua and David are likened to shepherds of their people
(Numbers 27:12-23, Psalm 78:71-72).
Crown of thorns?
Nope. Jesus Mythicists made that up.
Called Savior and Healer?
I do not recall if Dumuzi was ever called either name, but Tammuz was thought of as a “savior” and a “healer”.
However, his worshippers did not view him as both savior and healer the way that Christians view Jesus as savior and healer. The doctrines are different. Tammuz’s annual death and resurrection, like that of Dumuzi, ensured the continuation of crops and physical life on earth,
while Jesus’ death and resurrection was for the salvation of souls. By Tammuz’ return, vegetation returned or was “healed”. And as for being a “healer” in the normal sense; all gods had the power to heal. All where “healers” in that regard.
Died and resurrected?
Yes…and no.
This is where it gets tricky.
Let’s start with Dumuzi.
There are four accounts of how Dumuzi met his demise. In one, he was killed by mortal bandits led by an old woman named Bilulu. Now remember, Dumuzi is a god, and yet he is slain by mortals…against his will. Contrast that with Jesus, who was killed by mortals…willingly.
A god who can’t defend himself from a bunch of mortals?
Not much of a god.
His wife/lover Inanna got revenge, turning Bilulu into a water flask and her son (who was seemingly one of Dumuzi’s murderers) into a desert spirit. This spirit was given the job alerting Dumuzi whenever humans were bringing offerings to him. Dumuzi would leave the underworld and
go to the desert to receive their offerings. There is no physical resurrection in this version. Being a dead spirit, he would have no doubt went to the underworld, only to now and again resurface to attain these offerings, but he doesn’t physically resurrect.
Though some believe that this story could be interpreted as Dumuzi’s annual return and resurrection, this is contradicted by the fact that Dumuzi is still a ghost in the tale (as some who have said its possible to read in the resurrection in the story have actually noted!).
The only way this could be seen as a “resurrection” is in a figurative sense, not literal.
The second story involves Dumuzi having a dream that foretold his own death. After his sister, Geshtin-ana, interpreted the dream, he high tailed it before the Gallas or underworld demons
could catch him. The Gallas eventually paid Geshtin-ana an uncomfortable visit, and though they failed to get her to snitch on him, a friend of Dumuzi ratted him out (some friend). Dumuzi prayed to the god Utu for deliverance, and the god responded by making him a gazelle.
Though his animal form gave him greater speed and agility, the Gallas were still on his tail and closing in. Dumuzi prayed to Utu again, who guided him into the house of an old woman named Belili. He tried to hide there, but the gallas sniffed him out. He eventually went to his
sheep fold, and though his sister tried to trick the demons into thinking that he was already dead (by acting as if she was in mourning), the demons found him and killed him.
No resurrection in the tale.
In the third account, Dumuzi went to the underworld due to ticking Inanna off. She had went to the underworld, died and was resurrected (the latter act carried out by two sexless beings). However, she would have to have a substitute to stay in the underworld for her, and to make
sure this was done, several Gallas went with her to the upper world. . As she was considering her options, she found Dumuzi, but to her shock he was not mourning her. Indeed, he was sitting on a throne and decked out with some fancy duds. Enraged, Inanna chose Dumuzi right then
and there as her substitute, giving him the very same death look that the seven judges of the underworld had used to kill her (Many husbands know what that look is like).
Somehow, unlike Inanna, he didn’t die from this, but when the Gallas caught him he knew he was in serious trouble. He prayed to Utu, and the god turned him into a snake, which slithered out of the demon’s hands. However, this trick only worked for six months; then the Gallas
caught him and dragged him to the underworld. Later, however, Inanna was moved by Geshtin-ana’s mourning, so she decided that Dumuzi would only spend half of every year in the underworld, while Geshtin-ana would spend the other half of the year there as HIS substitute.
Sometimes the latter two stories are told together as a fourth version. Though Dumuzi’s death is noted in most accounts, in the third account the story could simply be understood as Dumuzi simply being taken to the Underworld, not that he died and then went there (remember,
Inanna herself went to the underworld without dying beforehand. She did die by the time she finished her descent, but it wasn’t due to being in the underworld or dying on earth, but due to the death stare of the 7 judges of the Underworld. Thus the “death and resurrection” in
this case would be figurative, not literal. Indeed, in some accounts he never physically resurrects at all. When the second and third account are told together, there is indeed a physical death and resurrection, but we have to realize…Dumuzi did not choose to die, nor did he
have the power to resurrect his body. Jesus, however, chose to die, and resurrected himself.
Now, let’s look at Tammuz.
Tammuz is said in some accounts to have been killed by Underworld raiders, though there are several accounts of his death that differ. Like Dumuzi, he was required to stay in the Underworld for half a year, and then could live above for the remainder of the year. However, it can
be argued that instead of physically resurrecting, Tammuz’s spirit is actually being brought to live among the stars, which would be an astralization. There is no text that celebrates his return from the Underworld.
Dumuzi did resurrect in at least one account (though whether this would also be considered an astralization would be an intriguing question, but to my knowledge, Dumuzi did literally resurrect in at least one version of his tale).
Tammuz’s resurrection is debatable.
Had a Lord’s supper?
Jesus Mythicists will try to make a connection between Jesus and Tammuz by means of the Lord’s supper, where the bread was symbolic of Christ’s body. Their reasoning is that the women who carried out the ritual mourning for Tammuz would not eat ground grain
while doing so, because they thought it was the body of Tammuz.
However, the text that states this dates back to the Medieval period.
Folks, Jesus wasn’t based on Dumuzi/Tammuz.
Jesus wasn’t a mythical figure.
He is a historical figure.
He is real.
And he died and rose from the grave to save each and every one of you, not to ensure that we have a good crop.
Jesus saves.
“Epics of Early Civilization” by Michael Kerrigan, Alan Lothian and Jeremy Black (Consultant), 36, 39-45
“The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Mythology” by Arthur Cotterell and Rachel Storm, 275, 320
St. Jerome, “Letter 58 to Paulinus”, section 3

“The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible: Red Letter Edition” by James Strong, LL.D., S.T.D, 59, 38 (Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary section), 54 (Greek Dictionary section)
“Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance: 2nd Edition” by Edward W. Goodrick and John R. Kohlenberger III, 133, 1378, 1536
“Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary: Completely Revised and Updated Edition” by Ronald F. Youngblood (General Editor), F.F. Bruce (Consulting editor) and
R.K. Harrison (Consulting editor), 181
“Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary: Completely Revised, Updated and Expanded” by Trent C. Butler (General editor), 193
“Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible Dictionary” by Merrill C. Tenney (General Editor), 111
“Oxford Guide to the Bible” by
Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan (editors), 78
“Archeological Study Bible: NIV”, 1487
@thethreadreader untoll please
Meant to write "House of (the god) Lahmu"".
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