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The Christ Myth (Westminster College-Oxford Classics in the Study of Religion) Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Series: Westminster College-Oxford Classics in the Study of Religion
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (February 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573921904
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573921909
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,523,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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There's a lot of discussion, highly informative and coherent.
Sergio A. Rosales
If you doubt the Jesus story and are looking for some well-researched analysis of the historicity and veracity of the story, this book will be of great interest.
Eric C
Recent books offer more scholarly details and expert micro hair-splitting, and more quotations from contemporary academics.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Eric C on August 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was very satisfied with the quality of this work. Probably not a coincidence that Oxford University calls it a "Classic".

The author systematically demolishes every aspect of the Jesus Christ story, convincingly arguing that Jesus Christ was a mythical figure who never actually existed, and the Jesus cult is an updating and re-telling of myths that existed in all of what we now call middle-eastern societies 3,000 years ago.

He relates that all of the cultures in the area had this mythology: son of God born to a virgin, suffering, dying and being resurrected. The Babylonians, Attics, Greeks, Egyptians, Essenes, Persians, Indians, and even Jews with their story of Joshua. In every one, the name of the mother of the son was a variation of "Mary". In the Vedic Indian cult, the son's name was Jesudu.

We learn that all of these myths were related to the cycle of the changing length of the days and intensity of the sun during the year; and that Paul rehashed existing sun-worship myths into story of a person he never met named Jesus who was the Messiah who had been born to a young woman named Mary, lived, died, came back to life then levitated up into the sky someplace... and as this had conveniently happened in the past, there was no need to wait for the Messiah any more, we could start worshipping right away.

Drews also shows how the stories in the canonical New Testament are a collection of traditional folk tales from Jesus cults that were mostly oral then written down mostly in the second century after Paul.

He also explains how the story of the cross is wrong - people were hung from poles at the time, not nailed to crosses.... the cross is a stylized representation of the two sticks used to create fire in the sun worship rituals.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hoffman on February 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Drews wrote this book in German and it was translated to English with sometimes difficult sentence construction, but the ideas are good and essentially clear. The ideas are not at all outdated. I've read the recent Christ-myth books, such as The Jesus Puzzle, The Christ Conspiracy, The Jesus Mysteries, The Jesus Myth, and Deconstructing Jesus. This book and The Jesus Mysteries are my favorites because instead of only refuting the historical Jesus and discarding the whole of the Jesus story, they ask what is the meaning and value of the myth, in terms of religious experiencing and insight into the relation of self and world.
The conclusion of this book is that given the choice between Jesus as myth and the historical Jesus, the right path for religion as religion is to choose Jesus as myth. If all we have is the historical Jesus of liberal Protestantism, then we no longer have religion, just mundane morality divested of both myth and the supernatural. But if we retain Jesus as myth, then we retain the religious redemption that is possible. He asserts that the Catholic Church could become legitimate by abandoning the historical Jesus and emphasizing the mythic Jesus as redeemer. Despite his elevation of redemption as the true essence of religion, Drews does not define redemption. (I'd define redemption as reconciliation between the self as moral agent and that from which it emanates.) Drews does not explicitly define this reconciliation and explain specifically how the Jesus myth assists this reconciliation.
He explains a main motive for creating the assertion of the historical Jesus.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By DAVID GROESBECK on June 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well researched but poorly executed. A prime example of turgid,abstruse,poorly organized scholastic writing that all too often characterized late 19th & early 20th centuries. As was pointed out in a previous review,some of this prolix style is a result of translation from the original German. Another difficulty is that of organizing large amounts of ethno religious myth data. This problem was addressed quite satisfactorily by J.M. Robertson in PAGAN CHRISTS (1909)who was another pioneering scholar of the MYTHACIST school of thought regarding christian origins. More recently, Aschyra S.(THE GREATEST STORY EVER SOLD) & Timothy Frecke (THE JESUS MYSTERIES) do a similarly effective examination of the non historicity of the jesus figure. That said,Drews made a powerful contribution that can't be discounted by any serious scholar seeking the truth & not simply a reinforcement of his religious delusions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sergio A. Rosales on January 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was published in 1910. It is about Arthur Drews (see the Preface), the author, and his search for the historical Jesus Christ. He looked for him in both books and languages. He didn't find him. There's a lot of discussion, highly informative and coherent. There's no loose ends or whatever that irritates you when the author pretends to be serious. Drews knows exactly what he is talking about and is very convincing in the discussion (i.e., of his own and others' thoughts).

Did Jesus exist or was only a myth? Drews gives us his answer which is not the end of the story. It could be a myth, no doubt. He tell you why he think that and how he came to conclude it. The sequence starts with a pre-Christian Jesus, wich is a very interesting insight. He tell you, no more no less, that the field was ready for the seed. And he advances the idea all the way up to the middle of the book where he stops just to begin the second part of the study: The Christian Jesus, which emerges as the natural consequence of the people's previous ideas, discussions and expectations. Was it a mere coincidence, a divine intervention, a human work, what?

To resolve the puzzle, Drews reorders the New Testament in order to read it such as it was formed, this is, beginning with the Pauline epistles, followed by the synoptic Gospels and ending with Gnosticism and the Johannine Jesus. This order, being known to many, many scholars, is revealing to him because it fits better the fiction and its fictitious character with history than the other way round.

Drews is not an atheist. He is more an unorthodox scholar who discusses the established truths from the perspective of his powerful and cultivated mind.

I would like to tell you how did I come to this book but cannot remember.
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