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on October 14, 2015
I would sincerely recommend this book to anyone with minor knowledge of the gospels and the historical "Jesus". Dr. Price cuts through and clarifies the essence of what biblical exegesis has revealed hitherto and beyond. His textual criticism is unparalleled and is on a higher wrung than that of all pastors, priests, bishops, and clergy men. His theories cut through the nonsensical whims of apologetics and creates more plausible explanations for the allegorical and redacted mythemes of the story book "Jesus" we have all grown to love but realizing somehow these myths have validity beyond biblical inherency.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2015
I have a lot of respect for this guy. He has that nerd appeal going on if you catch my drift. Not exactly in touch with like- the rest of the world- he steps to the beat of his own drum. So yeah, he can drop the beats even if he trips over his own feet every now and then. Let's get on with this...

What to think of this book. It's well organized and comes with a fancy title. I'm all for sizzle with my steak so that's good. If you've listened to a lot of this guys pod casts you'll feel right at home. If you're looking for a straight up scholarly peer reviewed work- not so much.

That isn't to say it's lacking in substance- far from it. I just find it's often injected with to much skepticism without providing any substantial rationale rooted in historical facts. It's like he's having a dialogue with himself and you are simply listening in. With that said, he tends to leave a few blanks which would be best filled in. Let me see if I can unearth a few examples here...hmmm..

For instance, the whole issue with the census under Quirinius. He mentions how there is no data whatsoever for such a census. Probably the most compelling evidence would be the revolt of the Jews in 6CE which ended in thousands massacred along the hillsides after being forcibly taxed (if I'm getting my facts straight here). Well, there is more to the story on that. There are extant records which show that there were census' conducted in providence's outside of Rome during that time. Extant records show Rome may have participated in them as well. Also, much is not known about Quirinius prior to his rulership in Syria. My point is, this is never dealt with or presented to his audience. Take a look at this data yourself:

Secondly, the same thing applies to the whole "no synagogues" in Galilee at the time of Jesus. There's another critique on this book which points it out and adds some facts concerning recent archaeological findings.

What's most exhausting about such a work as this- pure opinion here- is cross checking references. Price often smacks you in the face with a handful of texts, authors and other assorted research. If you're not wearing a helmet you'll certainly feel the pain while trying to follow his train of thought. The meat of the argument is buried in the details folks. If you really want to grasp what's going on, you'll have to lay out and examine the same materials Price has worked so hard to understand. Trouble is, you often aren't clearly directed to what those materials are.

In any case, it's worth a read. I dig the whole "principle of analogy" and "principle of biographical analogy" he covers at the beginning. Much with anything, there's always more to it. However, if you take the time you can pick up where guys like Price are coming from. Like I said, just remember to wear a helmet while you read this.
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on May 29, 2015
Robert M. Price nails it. This book tells us why Jesus is but a myth. It's an indispensable read for those who feel unsure in their beliefs about Jesus. This book will settle it. Is the gospel tradition based on fact or is it fabricated? Again, this book will settle it.
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on May 23, 2015
Really interesting work. It's one of those books that you have to read with your bible open next to it. Weather or not you agree with his conclusions about the historicity of Jesus, Price backs all of his points with incredible amounts of scriptural reference. Read it; it's worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2014
ABANDON ALL HOPE :::::::--> The jacket cover describes TISSOM as "radically pessimistic", and that's one way to put it. The book is a critical analysis of the historical personage of Jesus of Nazareth, and it uses every source available. Robert Price, in his examination, draws upon the gospels, the letters of Paul, early church fathers, revisionists, heretics, rabbis, etc, etc. Most books in this genre are written by atheists, ex-theologians turned atheist or secular bible scholars. TISSOM is in a class by itself. Price is a scholar, but he is probably (and more importantly) also a genius. He manages to present an opinion that retains the numinous wonder of faith even as he rips it apart. Believers will hate this book and non-believers will be divided. As a non-practicing atheist, I loved it, because Price goes for the big picture: he brings in stories from the Ancient World, the Torah, Homer, tales of Apollonius, Pythagoras, Mithras, Zoroaster and shows the reader logically how this song that we've been singing for the last two millennia is totally sampled. The whole New Testament narrative, from the virgin birth to the Pentacostal tongues of fire, has been cribbed from Greek, Roman, Hittite, Mediterranean Gnostic and OT sources Not just cribbed, but redacted, refined, reworked, reissued, re-reworked and made in the image of the prospective reader. As Dylan stole lyrics from unknown poets, likewise Luke and John. It's amazing, it's astounding, it's profoundly pessimistic (no pie in the sky here) but it's fascinating to read it. Robert Price is like watching a house cat devour a squirrel, from the head down to the tail. And, like the squirrel, we're left with a little fur, a couple of bones and a squirrel-shaped hole. And if that's not pessimistic, I don't know what is.
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on April 16, 2014
Well researched and written.

The book makes you think about a lot of different view points. It also points out mythical themes which occur throughout the gospels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Robert McNair Price (born 1954) is a former Baptist minister who teaches philosophy and religion at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, is professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute, and was the editor of the Journal of Higher Criticism from 1994 until it ceased publication in 2003. He is a fellow of the Jesus Seminar, notwithstanding his doubts about the historical existence of Jesus. He has written other books such as Deconstructing Jesus,Jesus Is Dead,The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul,The Case Against The Case For Christ, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 2003 book, "fundamentalists and demagogues are far from the only zealots for the Bible. Many more of us, whether Christians, Jews, Humanists, or just plain historians, have been bitten by the biblical bug and devote our efforts to elucidating the pages of a text we find consumingly fascinating for its own sake. We feel about the Bible as others do about the works of Homer and Shakespeare. We feel the need to explode misconceptions about the Bible... primarily so that a better understanding of the text may come to replace them. The quest for the historical Jesus is a specific case, or subset, of this scholarly zeal." (Pg. 10)

About the statement of Papias ("Mark, being the interpreter of Peter..."), he observes, "But are we sure Papias is even referring to our familiar gospels of Matthew and Mark? From his description of the Peter-Mark document, he might as easily be talking about the Ebionite work 'The Preachings of Peter'... And Matthew? Our Matthew was certainly not originally composed in Hebrew or Aramaic, for the simple reason that most of it is the reproduced text of the Greek Mark!... Isn't it just as natural to infer [Papias] is talking about a different document, attributed to Matthew, that WAS composed in Hebrew or Aramaic?" (Pg. 37)

Of the Census of Quirinius in Luke 2, he says, "The attempt of apologist Sir William Ramsey [sic] ] to make Quirinius governor of Syria on an earlier occasion... is totally unfounded. All Ramsey discovered was an inscription saying Quirinius had been honored for his aid in a military victory, and Ramsey gratuitiously guessed that Quirinius's reward had been a previous tenure as governor of Syria. Besides, there is no room for it. We know who occupied the post in Herod's time, and it was not Quirinius." (Pg. 61)

He argues, "But suppose John [the Bbaptist] was a historical figure, as he very likely was. Even if one should hold to the view that Jesus was not a historical figure, he would not necessarily take John down with him, so to speak. Any way one views it, the connection between Jesus and John is secondary, an attempt co-opt John's sect and absorb it into the early church by subordinating John to Jesus... Once it reached this point, it would scarcely matter if the figurehead of one sect were historical, the other mythical." (Pg. 104)

Of Jesus' use of 'Abba' when addressing God, he comments, "by New Testament times [Abba] had become the common word for father, denoting no special degree of tender intimacy. After all, Mark and Paul both translate it simply as 'father.'... Certainly the 'Abba' address passed from Aramaic-speaking Christians to Greek-speaking ones like Paul and Mark, and thence into the mouth of Mark's Jesus. Remember, no one was there to hear what Jesus had said in prayer. Mark created the scene out of whole cloth. Again, this is no evidence for what the historical Jesus may have thought of himself." (Pg. 286)

Price is an unusual figure (not many Jesus skeptics are also New Testament scholars), but his books are important reading for anyone studying the historical evidence for Jesus.
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on July 24, 2013
I have every confidence in Dr Price to deliver the goods.
He sometimes goes a little bit off topic, but soon brings you back, and when you return you find you have really learnt so much more.
I have lost faith in historical jesus the hands of the wonderful Dr Price.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2013
In this book Price are cutting the Gospels down to size. It is not dealing with the epistles of Paul at all, so don't expect a full treatment of the historicity of Jesus question. Price goes through the gospels are argues that there is nothing the gospels that we can count as historical reliable. Price goes one step further than many other New Testament scholars and rejects everything in the gospels, most secular scholars rejects somewhere from 90% to 95% of the gospels are pure fabrications. Price thinks that is a cop-out by scholars that they don't take their conclusions all the way and simply say that we cannot know anything for certain about Jesus based on the gospel accounts.
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7 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2012
I read about the Jesus Seminar group in college. This guy is one of their members. They start out with emotional presuppositions and very unscientifically try to decide what the actual words of Jesus were. They actually think you could figure that out through a little group meeting. If you were a Christian you would think it is dumb if someone was dissecting the Bible to decide what should be in there and what shouldn't. If you are an Atheist/Scientifically minded you would think it was stupid that modern people would think they could go through the gospels and HAVING NEVER MET THE GUY decide what Jesus actually said or didn't say and then rate that on various levels of likelihood. Have an open mind, but not so open that crap can fly in there.
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