How the Bible Borrowed From Other Stories


The Bible (consisting of both the Old and New Testament) is central to Christianity and so are its many myths, stories and parables. But even though many of these myths help to define the religion, some of them are not original – they have been borrowed or copied from other myths from other religions. This makes sense since all books in some way draw on the traditions and ideas of the past. What is interesting is that if some of the central stories of the Bible have been plagiarised, then how can the Bible be the inerrant word of God? Is it the word of some other god before Christianity? Or does plagiarism in the Bible show that the book is not holy, but merely an invention of the imagination?

If Christians admit that the myths of religions before it have no basis in reality or history, then if they drew on those same myths for inspiration, on what basis can they say that their myths are true? I’m not saying that the stories in the Bible are not compelling – they are just as interesting as any of the Greek myths – I’m saying that they do not prove that Judaism or Christianity are original, special or more ‘holy’ than other religions. They’re not. I’ll go through some of these plagiarised stories to get this point across.

Genesis 3 in the Bible tells the story of how Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, which God forbade her to do, and this act released evil into the world. This is similar to the myth of Pandora’s Box. Pandora was the first woman (like Eve) created by the Greek gods. Like Eve, Pandora was created in the image of her creator. Pandora opened a box she was told not to open (like the fruit Yahweh told Eve not to eat) and once she opened the box, evil came out of it. Both Pandora and Eve were curious and tempted, and both the ancient Greeks and Christians (with the idea of Original Sin) use their disobedience to God to explain why disease, sickness and sin exist in the world. Historically, the Jews flourished in ancient Greece, so they would have been aware of the myths and stories relating to Greek gods.

Many scholars recognise that the parallels between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the book of Genesis are so obvious that the authors of the Bible must have used them. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from Mesopotamia and is one of the earliest known works of literature. It dates to the 18th century BC. The first parallel is between the story of Enkidu/Shamhat and Adam/Eve. In both stories, a man is created from the soil by a god and lives among the animals. He is introduced to a woman who tempts him – he accepts her offering of food, decides to cover his nakedness, leaves paradise, and is not allowed to return.

Later on in the Epic of Gilgamesh, a snake steals a plant from Gilgamesh which has the power to give him immortality. The snake represents evil in the epic and represents Satan in the Bible. The parallels are so identical that it would be an incredible coincidence if the authors of the Bible invented the story themselves. That said, both the story in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible are entertaining allegories which try to explain the existence of evil in the world. The snake features as a symbol in many other stories and myths from around the world.

Andrew R. George, a translator of the epic argues that the flood story in Genesis 6-8 closely matches the Gilgamesh flood myth in such a way that Genesis must have been derived from it. As Andrew notes, the Genesis flood story follows the Gilgamesh flood story “point by point and in the same order”. In the epic, the god Ea warns Utnapishtim of a great flood and told Utnapishtim to build a boat in order to save all the living things. Just like Noah, he builds the boat, puts all the living things and his family on it, experiences a storm, and after it was all over, he offers a sacrifice to God. Flood stories have been found in many texts which predate the Bible. It’s found in the epic of Ziusudra and the epic of Atrahasis (which is nearly identical to the epic of Gilgamesh). In Hindu mythology, texts like the Satapatha Brahmana mentions a great flood, in which Vishnu advises Manu to build a giant boat.

The story of the life of Jesus, so vital to the Christian faith, is not original either. This is probably the story which actually has the most parallels with other religions, suggesting that the story is universal and expressed by many cultures in a similar way. Carl Jung called these universal stories or symbols archetypes and Joseph Campbell argued in his book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, that the story of Jesus is just one way of expressing the archetypal story of the archetypal hero.

The conspiracy documentary Zeitgeist outlines some striking similarities between the life and death of Jesus and previous gods from other religions, such as Horus, Mithras, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, as well as many others. The creator of the movie, Peter Joseph, does, however, overstate these similarities in order to support his conspiracy theory that the myths of Jesus and other gods relate to astrological and astronomical events. He claims, for example, that gods like Horus were born on the same day as Jesus (the 25th December) and that Horus’ mother, Isis, was a virgin. By comparing the Bible to ancient Egyptian texts, we know this is not true – Horus’ birthday was most likely between August 24th and 28th and he was not born of a virgin; his father was Osiris.

However, there are still similarities between Jesus and other gods, suggesting that the authors of the Bible borrowed myths from other religions. For example, the story of the “dying-and-returning-god” is considered a pattern or archetype by many, particularly by Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. The gods Adonis, Tammuz, Osiris and Dionysus died and were then resurrected. It seems likely that the story of Jesus was following a pattern found in other myths, which in turn were following a common ‘dying-and returning-god’ pattern. This suggests that there never was a real, historical Jesus.


  1. William Austin
    July 2, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    Just ran across this old post. If you want to see some answers that counter the plagiarism claims,
    check out the following sites: and

    • Michael
      February 18, 2019 / 3:13 am

      Linking to apologetics as a source. Typical.

    • Helmut Christian Tomas
      November 16, 2019 / 1:26 pm

      Not only do we have the sources which Jews and Christians used to make up their stories; centuries of attempts to prove the existence of any of the central characters of the Abrahamic religions (Abraham, Moses, David, Salomon, Jesus, the Apostles and disciples, St. Peter, Noah …..) have failed in a spectacular way although it were Christians who had control of preserving documents of historians like the books of the Roman and Greek historians of the first century CE.
      The organized book burnings in both Rome and the Byzantine Empire suggest that Christians did everything to obscure the fact that they had no facts but dogma and power to be preserved.

      • Mark Henderson
        February 4, 2024 / 12:56 am

        Yes. It’s obvious that the writers of the bible just re-hashed an old story from previous non-Christian religions.

    • bekalynn825
      December 14, 2022 / 9:43 pm

      Jesus wasnt born on Dec 25 either. Dec 25 was part of a group of winter holidays celebrated by Pagans in worship of Saturn, the Sun, the Earth Goddess, the Green man, and others. The Catholic church conveniently grafted their religion on these highly popular holidays to better infiltrate Non-Christian Cultures. Holly, Christmas Trees, Santa Claus, Caroling, Feasting, Gift Giving are all traditions of the Pagan traditions we still practice. These Pagan winter holidays occurred near the shortest day of the year which was celebrated as the return of “birth of the sun” . From that day forward until the Summer Solstice the sun would be spreading light longer for each day. Birth of the sun became “birth if the Son” who was the “Light of the World”. Hey isnt that what the Sun is?

    • stephen morey
      October 14, 2023 / 11:25 am

      They don’t counter sh1t…

  2. D
    October 16, 2018 / 10:03 pm

    Anyone quoting the Zeitgeist movie to back their claims show they are incapable of any proper research.

    • Anonymous
      October 10, 2019 / 4:17 am

      He can research it

    • Chris
      December 20, 2023 / 8:40 pm

      The writer didn’t quote it and in fact even states it’s a conspiracy theory. Honestly a conspiracy theory based in more fact than most right-wing conservative Christian conspiracies!

  3. Karen Chaya
    September 14, 2019 / 4:02 pm

    The article is factual. Also, it is well written in an easy to understand way for people who are thoroughly brainwashed into believeing the stories in the bible and the characters mentioned are literally true and a fact. Those people believe because they believe. They believe because a book with paper pages SAY it’s true and no other book is true except that one. They beleive because of the promises of good weather, never being harmed, that you can say a couple words and magically whatever you ask WILL come to you (he words being, “In Jesus’ name”. They believe because they are too afraid to not believe, thinking they will be thrown into a pit of fire called Hell. But, one thing they are also afraid to do? THINK on their own. In fact, in the N.T., there is an injunction against relying on your own brain, and just believe by faith. Or else.

    • Pudgy
      August 18, 2023 / 12:11 am

      Well said.

  4. Karen Chaya
    September 14, 2019 / 4:07 pm

    And, sorry for the misspelled words. I really was an excellent typist and speller before my stroke. I’m gong to be 73 soon and find I need to adapt to the reality of the aging experience. One thing that is happening is that these typos and misspellings may occur more frequently in the coming years. Sorry.

  5. timfreeman1955
    January 8, 2020 / 1:41 pm

    I find the biggest challenge I face as an adult bible teacher is that our education system doesn’t teach students to continue education. Most of my adult students lack critical thinking skills and the excuse they give me is, “Well, you went to seminary, so it’s easy for you.” I finished seminary in 1984 and I continually read, read, read, whatever I can get my hands on. Moreover, the “literal” view of the bible is the greatest impediment to really understanding an unlocking the continuity of scripture. So often, my students go to the “way does that mean” as a viewpoint from which to understand the text versus, considering the type of literature they are readying (poem, history, narrative) which leads them to understand the text. A poem is to be taken metaphorically…not literally. My students recognize a poem (Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost) and know not to take them literally, but when it comes to the bible…nope! I fear if we don’t challenge the literal bible view we will lose the value of scripture as an entity of our religious belief.

    • Sven
      October 19, 2020 / 5:58 pm

      Maybe if the author(s) had included a forward letting the reader know that what they are reading is to be interpreted for its intrinsic meaning, rather than taken literally. Then, the words of the “creator” would be up for interpretation and many opposing sects, each with a different interpretation, could spring up and create sometimes brutally violent oppositions to each other. But, there’s no way for a deity to know that people would probably get it all wrong.

      • Sam Woolfe
        December 3, 2020 / 10:45 pm

        Thanks for your comment, Sven. Would you mind expanding on what you mean by “intrinsic meaning”? To me, that sounds the same as “taken literally”.

  6. fiddlestix
    January 1, 2021 / 9:58 pm

    Zeitgiest has been disproven a lot not just from apologetics alot of the sotries were twisted or came after so it is in seriouse need of an update. As for gilgamesh no question there is a lot more similarities than is liste in this article A LOT more.\

  7. Lorenzo
    April 2, 2021 / 9:45 pm

    Sven, the arguments of taking the bits of bible figuratively came about only as our scientific knowledge advances. Since science facts does not check out with what the bible claims to be. Stories like the creation of the world in genesis is very difficult to be taken as poetic when it claims to be factual.

  8. Jill
    May 30, 2021 / 3:05 pm

    You hit the nail on the head. They are too afraid not to believe. This used to be me.

  9. Ed.
    September 2, 2021 / 5:05 pm

    It is obvious this man has not read the original and oldest bible in the world even older then the Greeks and the Egyptians. it is called ” THE KEBRA NAGAST
    SON MENYELEK ” People just like this guy even tried to say Sodom and Gomorrah was just a bible story that really could not happened.Then scientists discovered the two spots and found out ever word in the bible was true.

    • Cara
      November 3, 2021 / 2:57 pm

      Yeah, was he credible to? You knew that scientist? Bet he had no Skelton’s, totally trust worthy. Were you there? I wasn’t there. Religion was able to get away with things back then. They didn’t have technology , cameras, anything as proof. I’m watching the government try to brainwash society now. No one finds it head turning that the commandments and laws are similar? We literally watch presidents or world leaders make laws, change laws. They did the same with religion. They needed to find a way to stabilize society. Can’t just go around shooting people anymore when they upset you. But you know what, you used to! Old west, let’s have a stand off. It was ok then! Until someone changed the laws and religion. Slavery, that was ok too. So many things have been changed and adjusted. You don’t think others have planted evidence? Currency, kings found they make more through religion by giving people hope, that people will pay and fight, they will do anything for happy endings. Brainwashed. No matter what religion. It’s all Bs.

        June 17, 2023 / 6:29 am

        BIG FACTS

  10. NinjA
    September 12, 2021 / 10:40 am

    Your name is Sam (Samuel from the Bible)

    • Elijah
      October 15, 2023 / 8:10 am

      You act like he had a choice in what his name was. My mother was a die hard devout catholic. As in if it wasn’t in the Bible it was against god. The works. She named me Elijah. Very biblical name. Raised me catholic. Made me go to mass every Sunday and be a good Christian. As I got older I started finding all the faults in the Christian faith. Every question I had about the world and how it worked how god worked and questions I had about the Bible were always answered with “read the Bible” or “ have faith”. So I started researching other religions. I found Buddhism. And everytime I asked a question to a monk or other Buddhist has gotten an actual answer. They never once said “have faith” quite the opposite. They teach that the way to enlightenment is your own path and that no one should instruct you on how to walk your path. The Buddha even said. Don’t believe anything even if uttered from my own mouth unless it agrees with your own conscience and reason. Now I’m a Buddhist with a biblical name. Point is, your parents chose your name. You choose your path. His parents named him Sam. He used his mind to find his truth. Let him be.

  11. Chris
    August 20, 2022 / 3:58 pm

    Correction ,Pandora did not have a box it was a jar, I wish writers would research better before making mistakes

  12. Steven Edward Demeter
    June 23, 2023 / 1:29 pm

    Obviously this author is dead…absolutely no truth in what he wrote but clearly working for Satan and probably doesnt believe that either.

  13. Morris Mwelwa Sale Banda
    December 19, 2023 / 5:21 am

    I have not seen any proof given or link to the said info provided. I’m not a Christian but I think the author is not dealing with the issues squarely

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