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The Parallels Of Jesus And Hercules

1185 words - 5 pages

Myths and religious doctrine are generally recognized as two entirely different things. Myths are usually referred to as a fictitious story or a half-truth; often they are stories shared between groups of people that are part of a cultural society. Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, and purpose of the universe, and often containing an ethical code dictating appropriate human conduct. Although they differ in certain aspects, they still hold similarities. Comparable to parables within the Bible, myths have different versions which are both motivating, as well as entertaining. There are not only parallels to the idea of the stories but specific tales hold similar morals and equivalent characters.
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."(New Revised Standard Version, John 1:14) As the only son of God in the Christian theology, Jesus Christ was tasked with a multitude of trials, and horrors the common man would have rebuked and refused to undertake. However, as a demi-god born of the divine Christian deity and the mortal, virgin Mary, Jesus was not the average mortal man.
Jesus was not the first in history to boast such a birth lineage many examples exist within ancient tales; however Hercules, the illegitimate son of Zeus (supreme god of the Greek pantheon) and Alcmene (a mortal woman) is perhaps one of the most well-known. While the birth of Jesus was with consent and acknowledgement of Mary, Alcmene was tricked into a relationship with Zeus; it is interesting to note, however, neither conception was of traditional coupling.
Both Jesus and Hercules were marked for death directly from birth. Hera, Hercules’ step mother, sought to destroy him; as the focus of her vendetta against his father for numerous infidelities, Hera perpetrated horrific acts of terror upon the son. “Hercules demonstrated his strength right from birth. He choked the serpents that had been sent to him by the jealous Hera.” (classicsunveiled.com)
Jesus was also marked for death as an infant, due to a prophecy proclaiming a new king would be born in Bethlehem. King Herod the Great, sought to remain firmly ensconced on his throne and believing the prophecy meant his reign would end, declared new born infants to death in the hopes of killing the one the prophecy referred to.
As men, both Jesus and Hercules performed miraculous or super-human feats of strength, will-power and self-discipline. Jesus was burdened with having to prove himself as the messiah and messenger of god. He traveled throughout Judea and performing miracles and casting out demons. Hercules also traveled the earth as a man helping mankind and performing feats, such as slaughtering monsters and demonstrating humility in mundane tasks such as cleaning stalls.
Another common element in both tales is the resurrecting of the dead. Jesus has the ability to resuscitate the dead and...

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