D. M. Murdock, better known by her pen name Acharya S, is an American author and proponent of the Christ myth theory. She has written six books and operates a website named Truth be Known. She argues that Christianity is founded on earlier myths and the characters depicted in Christianity are based upon Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and other myths.
According to her website, Murdock received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Classics, Greek Civilization, from Franklin and Marshall College, after which she spent a year at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece.
In 1999, as Acharya S. she published her first book, The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold, arguing the concept of Jesus Christ as myth. She states the Christ story is a fabrication. In 2001, Acharya S. wrote the Foreword to a new edition of Kersey Graves's The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviours: Christianity Before Christ.
A follow-up book, Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled, was published in 2004. Acharya comments on the Hindu story of the life of Krishna, as well as the life of Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama). She claims parallels to the Christian stories of the life of Jesus as evidence that the story of Jesus was written based on existing stories, and not the life of a real man. Suns of God also seeks to address some of the criticisms leveled at Christ Conspiracy.
Acharya S. founded Seattle based Stellar House Publishing in 2005 through which she self-publishes a number of her books. According to the website, they claim to specialise in "Archaeology, History, Astrotheology, Mythology and Religion".
In 2005–06 she was one of fifty Fellows of The Council for Secular Humanism's Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER).
Her 2007 book, Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ continues the theme of The Christ Conspiracy by expanding her theory questioning the historical validity of Jesus Christ alleging "early Christian history to be largely mythical, by sorting through available historical and archaeological data."
In 2009 she released Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection and The Gospel According to Acharya S. Her work was used extensively in part 1 of the original movie Zeitgeist. She also acted as consultant only for part 1 of the movie.
In her various books, Acharya describes the New Testament as a work of mythic fiction within a historical setting. She claims that the story of Jesus Christ is a retelling of various pagan myths, representing "astrotheology," or the story of the Sun, and also incorporates the science of archaeoastronomy. She asserts the pagans understood the stories to be myths, but Christians obliterated evidence to the contrary by destroying and controlling literature when they attained control of the Roman Empire, which led to widespread illiteracy in the ancient world, ensuring the mythical nature of Christ's story was hidden.
Acharya S. compares Jesus' history to other "Saviour gods" such as Mithra, Horus, Adonis, Krishna, Quetzalcoatl, and Odin, claiming the similarities result from a common source: the myth of the sun-god or solar deity.
Acharya S.'s positions have received criticism by Christian apologists, notably Mike Licona and James Patrick Holding, to whom she published a rejoinder. She was also attacked by Joel McDurmon, as well as atheist activist and fellow Christ mythicist Richard Carrier. Acharya S likewise produced a rejoinder to Carrier's critique. Theologian Robert M. Price, who is sympathetic to the Christ myth hypothesis, wrote a critical review of Murdock's first book. He has, however, retracted it previously from his website, for reasons unknown currently. He has been supportive of her subsequent work, promoting Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled in a recommended reading list along with promoting the same book in The Pre-Nicene New Testament: Fifty-Four Formative Texts, penning the foreword to Who Was Jesus: Fingerprints of the Christ and writing a positive review of Christ in Egypt. The Christ Conspiracy received a favourable review from author Earl Doherty.
Acharya S's presentation of Christianity as a "conspiracy" has drawn positive attention from other conspiracy theorists and critics of Christianity. In his book You Are Being Lied To, Russ Kick describes The Christ Conspiracy as "an essential book for anyone who wants to know the reality behind the world's dominant religion." In a book on American conspiracy theorists, Kenn Thomas calls her a "great chronicler of the conspiracy known as Christianity."
Acharya has been interviewed on a variety of radio stations, including the Alan Colmes Show. She also appears on podcasts such as Black Op Radio, and Coffee, Cigarettes and Gnosis. She has been interviewed in Paranoia magazine and by The Progressive Observer.
D. M. Murdock's writings have not been widely referred to in academic and scholarly sources.
In his book In Search of Jesus, Baptist comparative religion scholar Clinton Bennett describes her views as being similar to those of radical freethinker Robert Taylor (nicknamed "the Devil's chaplain"), secularist MP and fellow Christ mythicist John M. Robertson, and American mythographer Joseph Campbell.
Bart Ehrman, himself an agnostic, featured Acharya S/D.M. Murdock among several mythicists in a chapter of his book Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth (2013). Murdock is allocated a 4 page section of Ehrman's chapter on mythicists (pages 21–25, further mention page 28). In particular the review concluded with an example of Acharya S claiming "Bronze sculpture hidden in the Vatican treasury of the Cock, symbol of St. Peter." And Ehrman noting that no such thing exists (although there is a pagan phallic statue unrelated to Peter in the Pompeii Museum in Naples). In responding to criticism of his treatment of this claim by Acharya S. from mythicist Richard Carrier, Ehrman notes that his main point was simply that Acharya S is "not a scholar who could be trusted (in part because she is not a scholar)."
- Murdock, D.M. (as Acharya S) (1999). The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold. Kempton, Illinois: Adventures Unlimited Press. ISBN 0-932813-74-7.
- Murdock, D.M. (as Acharya S) (2004). Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled. Kempton, Illinois: Adventures Unlimited Press. ISBN 1-931882-31-2.
- Murdock, D.M. (2007). Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ. Stellar House Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9799631-0-0.
- Murdock, D.M. (2009). Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. Stellar House Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9799631-1-7.
- Murdock, D.M. (2009). The Gospel According to Acharya S. Stellar House Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9799631-2-4.
- Picknett, Lynn & Prince, Clive (2008). The Masks of Christ. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-4165-9446-8.
- Foreman, Mark W. (2012). "Challenging the Zeitgeist Movie: Parallelomania on Steroids". In Copan, Paul & Craig, William Lane (eds.). Come Let Us Reason: New Essays in Christian Apologetics. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-4336-7220-0.
- Murdock, D. M. "Who is Acharya S?". Truth Be Known. Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 1 Jan 2010.
- Robert M. Price in Murdock (2007) p. v.
- Adventure Unlimited Press, rear cover of Murdock (1999)
- "The Christ Conspiracy – Home". Retrieved 11 September 2009.
- Acharya S. "What Are Acharya's Credentials?". Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
- Vasudha Narayanan Hinduism 2009 p50 "The term acharya usually denotes the formal head of a monastery, sect, or subsect, or a teacher who initiates a disciple into a movement"
- "IG: Acharya S – 2nd Appearance – Suns of God". The Infidel Guy. 2001. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
- "About Us". Stellar House Publishing. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- "CSER Home / CSER's Mission / JSER / Conference 2005–06". Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- "Stellar House Publishing Releases 'Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ' for Worldwide Distribution". 27 December 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
- "The Gospel According to Acharya S". Stellar House Publishing. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- "The New Zeitgeist Part 1 Sourcebook (2010)".
- Murdock (1999) ch 22, The Making of a Myth
- Fox, Storm. "Man's Inhumanity to Man: An Interview with Acharya S". Paranoia. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- Licona, Mike (2001). "A Refutation of Acharya S's book, The Christ Conspiracy". Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- Holding, James Patrick. "Gospel Gossip: A Refutation to Acharya S on the Gospels". Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- Murdock, D.M. "Prove Jesus Existed, Please!". Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- McDurmon, Joel (2008). Zeitgeist: The Movie Exposed: Is Jesus an Astrological Myth?. Powder Springs, Georgia: American Vision. pp. 17–20. ISBN 978-0-915815-92-0.
- Carrier, Richard C. (2004). "Brunner's Gottkoenigs & the Nativity of Jesus: A Brief Communication". Frontline Apologetics. Archived from the original on 23 January 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- Murdock, D.M. "The Nativity Scene of Amenhotep III at Luxor". Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- Price, Robert M. (Summer 2001). "Aquarian Skeptic". Free Inquiry 21 (3): 66–67.
- Price, Robert M. "Recommended Reading List". Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
- p. 1179
- Price, Robert M. "Review: D.M. Murdock (Acharya S.), Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection". Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- Doherty, Earl. "THE CHRIST CONSPIRACY" Jesus Puzzle
- Kick, Russ (2001). You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths. New York: The Disinformation Company. p. 272. ISBN 0-9664100-7-6.
- Thomas, Kenn (2006). Parapolitics: Conspiracy in Contemporary America. Adventures Unlimited Press. pp. 15, 127. ISBN 1-931882-55-X.
- "Acharya S in the Media". Retrieved 1 July 2008.
- "Black Op Radio, Show No. 351 Part 3 – Acharya S Episode". 7 December 2007. Retrieved 1 July 2008.
- Abraxas (2006). "Coffee, Cigarettes and Gnosis podcast episodes No. 5 & 6" (audio (mp3)). The God above God. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
- "The Good Shepherd Part II: Revelations". Retrieved 1 August 2008.
- Bennett, Clinton (2001). In Search of Jesus: Insider and Outsider Images. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 339. ISBN 0-8264-4916-6.
- Ehrman Did Jesus Exist p25
- Ehrmanblog.com "Let me say, in addition, that this comment of mine was made very much in passing. No major point was being made, other than that Acharya S was not a scholar who could be trusted (in part because she is not a scholar) in the context of eleven rather egregious mistakes that I picked out, more or less at random, in her book."
- Truth be Known Acharya S' web site
- Acharya S' blog
- Stellar House Publishing
- Free Thought Nation News site / blog by Acharya S
- Video interview with Acharya S on Conscious Media Network
- Documented Sources for Zeitgeist Part One
- Response to Richard Dawkins on Zeitgeist Part One
- Response to Richard Carrier on Zeitgeist Part One