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Was Jesus Greek and not Jewish?

Controversial Documentary Claims Philosopher May Have Been the Real ‘Son of God’


An explosive new documentary called ‘Bible Conspiracies’ makes the claim that the Greek religious preacher Apollonius of Tyana was actually the true 'son of God’ - not Jesus Christ as is commonly thought.

Similarities Between Apollonius and Jesus

Although Apollonius was mostly eradicated from history, it is thought that he was born about the same time as Jesus in the 3rd or 4th year BC in Central Anatolia, which is now part of Turkey. Also said to have performed miracles, the documentary claims Apollonius “Reportedly restored life to the dead and spoke of things beyond the human reach. And, unlike Jesus, there is evidence to prove that he actually existed.”

Top: Apollonius of Tyana depicted on a coin. (Public Domain) Bottom: An Epigram on Apollonius of Tyana. (CC0)

Top: Apollonius of Tyana depicted on a coin. (Public Domain) Bottom: An Epigram on Apollonius of Tyana. (CC0)

According to an article in The Daily Mail, the new documentary does not dispute that Jesus existed as a historical figure, but suggests that he was actually the Greek philosopher. It claims the existence of “striking physical similarities between the two” and suggests “there is more evidence that Apollonius existed.”

Among the screeds of questionable evidence presented in ‘Bible Conspiracies’, both Jesus and Apollonius were preachers in the 1st century AD and both men were depicted with long hair and beards. Like Jesus, Apollonius went shoeless and had also amassed a group of loyal followers by performing miracles; and as a ‘disciple of Pythagoras’ he ‘renounced flesh, wine and women.’

A wandering philosopher, commonly associated with Apollonius of Tyana. Late 2nd - 3rd century AD. (CC0)

A wandering philosopher, commonly associated with Apollonius of Tyana. Late 2nd - 3rd century AD. (CC0)

The documentary reveals that Apollonius “Became a reformer and fixed his abode in the Temple of Aesculapius” and that he “Eventually became a wise sage himself and his own notoriety grew.”

Does This Story Have Substance, Or is it Another Da Vinci Code?

The highly controversial claim made in the documentary directly challenges traditional views of both Jesus and Apollonius, the latter generally believed to have been a philosopher, and as such many reactions to the documentary have been fierce.

An article in The Inquisitor said the documentary “has received a hostile reception in many quarters. Viewers have slammed it for trying too hard to cast unnecessary doubt on the Bible without any historical evidence or expert opinion to back it up.” Others claim the Amazon documentary was not an “objective analysis of historical fact, but a heavily biased opinion piece.”

Viewers should consider that this entire story is really, really old news that’s been revamped for Amazon. Over the centuries, many people have noticed the resemblance between the lives of the ancient sage Apollonius of Tyana and the Christian savior Jesus Christ, a comparison first brought to light by the "very important Roman official" Sossianus Hierocles in the 4th century.

Jesus Simply Could Not Have Been the Greek Apollonius

Putting all of the claims made in the documentary aside for a moment, some pretty clear facts determine that the whole story is indeed a sensationalized load of codswallop. If this was really the case, then obviously we would have an Apollonian religion and not a Jewish Messianic religion. The word “Christ” is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew/Aramaic word “Messiah” and the promised Jewish Messiah had to be born Jewish, and in Bethlehem. Being born in Turkey, Apollonius doesn’t qualify!

Several depictions of Jesus. ( Public Domain )

Several depictions of Jesus. ( Public Domain )

What might be getting missed in the documentary producers’ attempts to rewrite history is that the Pythagorean philosopher, Apollonius, might have been in direct competition with the religions of the near east, and seems to have had set up a rival system of miracle working and worship, challenging that of Jesus Christ. This unseen, yet real historical battle, to become the redeemer of our sins and captain of our conscience, would have made a far more interesting and realistic documentary.

These days, it seems that offending folk with nonsense has become a sales tool.

Top image: Was Jesus Greek and not Jewish? Source: CC0

By Ashley Cowie



Messiah, the Son of God, was, and was prophesied, to be born in Bethlehem.

To be offended, one first has to believe the myths, fables, half-truths and lies that fill the 'buybull', and are the basis of one of the most offenisve religions man has ever created. Since the majority of thinking people don't buy into that 'codswallop', I don't think many are offended by a story that is, if nothing else, interesting.

Os comentaba mi admiración sincera sobre vuestra gran web. La pregunta era: ¿Si a esta figura de la antiguedad se le atribuye el mito de Jesucristo, hay una cuestión que quiero plantearos: En qué año nació este personaje... pues lo preguntado, no, y es suficiente para refutar esa teoría? Porque si nació después de Cristo la premisa expuesta no es posible, qaral.

Por favor el respeto que os tengo es casi de admiración y agradecimiento. Pero ante este artículo os hago esta pregunta: ¿Veamos ante la polémica de esta figura de la historia antigua que se le otorga la identidad del mito de Jesucristo, según los historiadores cuándo nació... Pues eso, no?.. qaral.

ashley cowie's picture


Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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