[ Author Bio ]
In the early 20th century anthropologist James Frazer proposed a recurrent dying-and-rising-gods motif in pre-Christian Near Eastern mythology. In The Riddle of Resurrection, Tryggve Mettinger attempts to revive this notion, but only by questionably redefining resurrection to mean some sort of continued existence after death. Mettinger concludes that there is no compelling evidence for a connection between this motif and Christianity, but nevertheless that the existence of such a connection remains an open question. This is an important qualification because popular Christian authors have cited Mettinger's work as evidence that there were no pagan influences on Christian beliefs about Jesus. In fact Mettinger denies having provided any sort of complete study which might support the uniqueness of the Christian concept of resurrection.