Christ of the Holy Bible and Dionysus of Euripides
Christ resembles Dionysus in many ways. Is it possible that Christ is simply an extension of the Dionysian myth? Though the concepts of wine and faith unite the two, the idea of revenge compared to self-sacrifice separates the two deities. Dionysus fits the Greek understanding of vengeful and selfish God that bear more anthropomorphic traits than Godly traits. Christ, however, transcends human desires for revenge and acts in self-sacrifice. This is the key separation between them.
The similarity between the two Gods is striking. Dionysus is associated with wine and revelry. Christ forever associated himself with wine and celebration through the act of Communion and the Wedding at Cana. Contrary to many popular beliefs, Christ is a celebratory God. The Bible lists many occasions where God accepted the gift of his followers' song and dance. 2 Samuel 6:14, "David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might." Dionysus also encourages festivities. "I came to this city of Greeks when I had set all Asia dancing, and established there my mysteries to prove myself a god to Man" (Euripides - 11)
Interestingly enough, The Bible speaks of Christ's last words on the cross. It is said that before he died he cried out, "It is finished." The last words that the chorus speaks echo the same thought. It is finished. That is not the only surprising thing. The Bible tells of God's struggle to find a way to salvage the relationship with his children. The last line of the Bacchae reverberates the concept of the Godly struggle to find the right action.
The motives of Dionysus are extremely perplexing to a modern audience. "I will go; for that which fate forbids, can never befall me. For this thy mockery be sure Dionysus will exact a recompense of thee-even the god whose existence thou deniest; for thou art injuring him by haling me to prison" (Euripides - 28).
John 3:16, "For God...