Did Jesus really exist? There are many views about the origin of the Jesus story. This book makes the case for the Jesus story having developed out of existing Jewish messianic and apocalyptic literature and beliefs, with no historical person at the core of the story.
This is an excellent book for both Christians and non-Christians, and actually takes a very close look at much of the symbolism and meaning of the New Testament scriptures in ways that will be very familiar to Christians.
Readers will be introduced to all of the major points in the discussion of the historicity of Jesus, as well as all of the primary source materials that underly this topic. There is no other book on Jesus historicity that provides as much access to the relevant source materials.
To hear an interview with the author about the book click on the following link: Jesus - A Very Jewish Myth
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By Roland Zwick
Aug 17, 2009
"One of the best books of its type on the market" Let me state right up front that I am no Biblical scholar, nor have I been trained in the field of Biblical studies. However, I am a layperson with a more than passing interest in the subject of the Bible, particularly concerning its origins, its relation to history, and its own historical development. I have read quite a few of the more popular books on the subject of the “Jesus Myth,” including Earl Doherty’s “The Jesus Puzzle,” GA Wells’ “The Jesus Myth,” and Robert M. Price’s “Deconstructing Jesus,” “The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man” and “The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.” Although I found each of these works to be enlightening and illuminating in their own way, I think that R. G. Price’s “Jesus - A Very Jewish Myth” would actually be the best place for a person interested in this subject to begin his reading. That is basically because Price’s work is probably the most accessible for a layperson unfamiliar with... More > the extraordinary complexities of this subject. Price has structured his work in a way that is remarkably clear and logical, and he is more interested in providing concrete evidence for his theory than arcane abstract musings. First of all, he is wise in limiting the scope of his argument to cover strictly the Jewish origins of the Jesus story. At the beginning of the book, Price briefly acknowledges the possible pagan origins of the Jesus myth as well, but correctly surmises that many of the parallels drawn between pagan mythological figures and Jesus have been wildly exaggerated by authors overeager to make their point. Price does not fall into that trap. He next plunges into an examination of the kind of apocalyptic and messianic literature that came to dominate so much of Jewish writings in the period prior to the 1st Century and the supposed time of Jesus. He provides a generous sampling of such works, enough to make his case that the time was definitely ripe for a full blown messianic cult to rise up, as Christianity clearly did in the 1st and 2nd Centuries AD. Having made this case spectacularly well, Price then moves on to show why a historical Jesus is a less satisfying explanation for the foundation and eventual explosion of Christianity than a mythological Jesus. Pages 47 and 48 provide a thorough listing of his major arguments, which he proceeds to expand upon throughout the course of the book. What I most like about this work is the clear and logical way in which Price has laid out his arguments. He painstakingly explores how each and every one of the details of Jesus’ “life” can be traced back to either the Old Testament or some inter-testamentary work prior to the writing of the Gospel of Mark, the first known “biography” of the man Jesus. Here the painstaking research Price has done really pays off in convincing us that there is indeed something quite solid about the case he is making. I also appreciate the fact that, even though some of the passages he quotes are extremely long, he clearly highlights the significant portions in bold-face as a service to his reader. Finally, he explores the “silence” surrounding the Jesus figure familiar to us from the gospels in writings by authors as variant as the apostle Paul to the Jewish historian, Josephus, to the pagan writers like Suetonius, Pliny the Younger and Tacitus. In short, “Jesus - A Very Jewish Myth” is a comprehensive and comprehensible look at a theory that becomes more intriguing and convincing with each new book that hits the market. For sheer readability and accessibility, this is clearly one of the best.< Less
"Persuasive, but not dogmatic." The best evidence against the existence of the Judeo/Christian God has, I feel, always been the Bible. It seems it's also the best evidence agaist the historicity of Jesus. Of course there's a lot more, some of which I was already aware of, but I'd never really thought of looking in the Old Testament. This part of the book was the most fascinating for me, although it is matter of fact and orderly, and not sensationalised at all. All in all, a beautifully reasoned book that is easy to read.
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