Lord Raglan's Mythic-Hero Profile
Something like half a century ago, a certain Lord Raglan published his Mythic Hero profile, a sort of average biography of legendary heroes. Many well-known ones fit very well, like Oedipus, Hercules, Perseus, Romulus, Krishna, and the Buddha, while it is hard to find well-documented people who score very high.
Lord Raglan had avoided the question of how well Jesus Christ might fit because of the obvious controversy that it would cause, but Alan Dundes has decided to go ahead and do JC. Lord Raglan's approach in scoring was to use the most mythical variant of various stories; I will do that here.
1. The hero's mother is a royal virgin, whileShe's not called the Virgin Mary for nothing, and if one of the genealogies refers to her, then she's descended from King David. Score: 1/22. his father is a king, andThough Joseph lives as a commoner, he is described as being descended from King David. Score: 13. the father is related to the mother.No. Score: 04. The hero's conception is unusual or miraculous; henceYes. Score: 15. he is reputed to be a son of a god.Yes. Score: 16. Evil forces attempt to kill the infant or boy hero, butKing Herod orders the killing of the Bethlehem baby boys. Score: 17. he is spirited away to safety andJoseph and Mary flee with him to Egypt. Score: 18. reared by foster parents in a foreign land. Besides this,They stay in Egypt for a while, though they eventually return. Score: 1/29. we learn no details of his childhood untilA little bit. His being a child prodigy in the Temple. Score: 1/210. he journeys to his future kingdom, whereHe leaves is family and goes into the desert. Score: 111. he triumphs over the reigning king and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast, andHe successfully resists the Devil's temptations and the Devil goes away defeated. Score: 112. marries a princess, often his predecessor's daughter, andNo. His extracanonically-rumored girlfriend, Mary Magdalene, was a commoner. Score: 013. becomes king himself.He becomes not only a religious leader, but also a self-styled messiah and "king of the Jews". Score: 114. For a while he reigns uneventfully,Yes. He mainly wanders around, preaching and working miracles. Score: 115. promulgating laws. ButYes. Many of his teachings can easily be interpreted as laws. Score: 116. he later loses favor with his subjects or with the gods andThe leaders and people of Jerusalem turn against him and his followers flee. Score: 117. is driven from the throne and the city andHe is put on trial for blasphemy. Score: 118. meets with a mysterious death,He takes a few hours to die on that cross, a very fast death for a young man in good health. Score: 119. often atop a hill.Golgotha: Skull Hill. Score: 120. If he has children, they do not succeed him.He is childless. Score: 121. His body is not buried, yetHe rises from the dead and leaves his tomb. Score: 122. he has one or more holy sepulchers.The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Score: 1
I calculate a score of 18 1/2; others have calculated scores like 19. Jesus Christ is way up there, alongside the other high scorers I'd mentioned.