Could Jesus Have Been a Druid?

A religious figure that has impacted many through the centuries.

But how much was Jesus impacted by other ancient religious figures like druids?

Could Jesus have been a druid?

There are some similarities between the actions and beliefs of Jesus and the Druids.

Which may lead one to think that Jesus was a druid. Or at least practise the same religion and faith.

To answer that, we will need to understand them both a little better. Starting with Druids and then comparing them with Jesus.

What is a Druid?

The word ‘druid’ is often linked to the Irish-Gaelic term “doire,” meaning “oak tree,” a symbol of knowledge.

Oak Tree a Symbol of Wisdom

With significant influence and prestige in the ancient Celtic cultures, druids filled roles akin to the high-ranking members of a priestly class. Using both herbal medicine and the spirit world to cure diseases.

They served as the spiritual guides of their communities but also acted as acting as teachers, scientists, judges and philosophers.

Despite their importance, the druids left no written records behind. Believing that knowledge should only be passed on orally, not in written form.

Druids typically carried out their worship in tranquil, isolated areas such as forest clearings and stone circles, revered as their ‘Temples.’

Most ancient druids lived in the British Isles but also in Gaul (Modern day France and Belgium).

Fun side fact: in roughly 750 CE, a poem written by Blathmac wrote about Jesus, saying he was “better than a prophet, more knowledgeable than every druid, a king who was a bishop and a complete sage.” It’s an interesting comparison. (Mac Mathúna, Liam (1999). “Irish Perceptions of the Cosmos” (PDF). Celtica. 23: 174–187, esp. 181.)

But back to our question, was Jesus a druid?

Jesus and Druidism

Both had an ancient faith and practiced an ancient religion.

So we can find some similarities between them.

This is not exhaustive, but here are a few practices that Jesus and Druids had in common.

But within them, there are differences.

Oral Tradition

We have zero written text from Jesus also.

There is some debate if Jesus could even read or write. Personally, I think that Luke 4 is historically accurate that Jesus READ from Isaiah in the synagogue.

The possibility of him being able to write is less with no historical evidence.

Similar to the druids, Jesus committed his teachings and practices to his disciples orally. Talking with them about the kingdom of God. Showing them through his actions how to live out their faith. But never by writing.

His later followers did, hence how we got the gospels and many other Christian texts.

This contrasts with the druids in 2 ways.

One, it does not appear that Jesus taught his followers to only to communicate the things of God orally, never by writing. As the Druids did.

Secondly, it appears that many druids were literate. They could read and write but chose not to for their religious activities.

Jesus was part of a society with a low literacy rate (3%), so he taught orally out of practicality. Not out of a deep conviction that faith should only be spoken not written.

Religion Activities Centred in Nature

Jesus also did not build or command any temples or sacred places to be used.

Glowing light in a forest

Like the druids, he would often withdraw to nature to pray and focus his spirit (Matt. 14:23; Mk. 6:46, Lk6:12, Jn 6:15). Mountains being the most common.

But his ministry also started with him withdrawing to the wilderness first( Matt.4:1-13, Mk1:12-13, Lk.4:1-13). Then, from his mystical experience, he began his ministry.

Add to this, he took Peter, James and John to a high mountain (Matt.17:1-8, Mk.92-8, Lk.9:28-36).

Like the druids, all of these spiritual experiences happen in nature.

But we also know that Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem.

There is debate about why he “cleared the temple,” but it is fair to say that the temple was a central part of his religion. That he did not oppose the use of temples and sacred places of religious activities. After his death, his followers continued to meet at the temple (Acts 2:46).

Curing of Disease

Many Druids served as healers in their communities. They would heal people of their ailments through herbal medicine or the divine.

Jesus was also known as a miracle worker.

But his ability to cure was based more a spiritual work than herbs (Matt. 9:20-22, Mk. 5:25-34, Lk.8:43-48).

So, in this way, Jesus and Druids were alike.

Acting as Teachers and Judges

Because of their wisdom and power, druids often acted as teachers and judges of communities.

The same can be said about Jesus.

His most prominent activity during his ministry was teaching. Most of the gospels are collections of his teachings and sayings.

But were the druids favoured riddles and dark sayings, Jesus preferred parables (Mk.4:2).

He did not like the idea of playing the role of Judge, but people did come to him to make judgements (Lk.12).

We all are seeking wisdom and wise judgment.

Both the peers of druids and Jesus wished for them to teach them what they knew and judge between them.

Was Jesus a Druid?

The most conclusive argument that Jesus was not a druid is time and space.

Jesus lived in what is modern-day Israel. The druids in the British Isles and Gaul (United Kingdom, France, Belgium).

The distance separating them makes contact almost next to impossible. Unlike the many trade routes from the east exposing Jesus to Bablonion and eastern thought. There was limited trade at the time of Jesus between Judea and the British Isles.

There are some similarities but also differences in beliefs.

For example, Jesus and the druids both believed in the immortal soul. But Jesus envisioned the resurrection, the Druid’s reincarnation.

But on a much wider view, druids practise druidism, a religion of their people and ancestors. Jesus also held to his ancestral religion, but it was Judaism, not Druidism. Yes, you can find similarities, but there are many more differences.

In conclusion. Jesus was not a druid.

Resources

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druid
  • https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofWales/Druids/
  • Cunliffe, Barry. (1997). The Ancient Celts. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press
  • Hutton, Ronald. (2009). Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain. Yale University Press
  • https://www.terravara.com/wicca-vs-druidry/

Ryan Nickel

Two loves of my life beyond my wife and 4 children are history and the person of Jesus. From childhood, I was captivated by history and still love reading and learning about the past. One life in particular that intrigues me in history is the person of Jesus. It's fascinating to think about how the course of human history was changed by a carpenter turned preacher. Both in our times and also in his. I attempt to process all I am learning about him through conversations, writing and shooting videos about the life and teachings of Jesus. With each word drawing me closer into his life. Ryan Nickel has been part of range of churches, including Baptist, Evangelical Free and Church of Christ. In 1999 I graduated from Peace River Bible Institute with a Bachelor of Religious Studies.

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