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Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths? (Biblical Studies) [Kindle Edition]

Maurice Casey
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Did Jesus exist? In recent years there has been a massive upsurge in public discussion of the view that Jesus did not exist. This view first found a voice in the 19th century, when Christian views were no longer taken for granted. Some way into the 20th century, this school of thought was largely thought to have been utterly refuted by the results of respectable critical scholarship (from both secular and religious scholars).

Now, many unprofessional scholars and bloggers ('mythicists'), are gaining an increasingly large following for a view many think to be unsupportable. It is starting to influence the academy, more than that it is starting to influence the views of the public about a crucial historical figure. Maurice Casey, one of the most important Historical Jesus scholars of his generation takes the 'mythicists' to task in this landmark publication. Casey argues neither from a religious respective, nor from that of a committed atheist. Rather he seeks to provide a clear view of what can be said about Jesus, and of what can't.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Maurice Casey is Professor of New Testament Languages and Literature at the University of Nottingham, UK. He has published extensively on the Son of Man problem, and more generally on reconstructing Aramaic traditions about Jesus from the Greek Gospels.

Product Details

  • File Size: 933 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark; 1 edition (January 16, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,478 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Bag November 21, 2014
Maurice Casey was an agnostic NT scholar who seems to have reluctantly found himself drawn into this. I suspect it was something like the case with Ehrman where one of his main assistants, Stephanie Fisher, saw mythicism gaining ground on the internet. Casey decided to start looking into their writings. As can be imagined, he and Fisher both found them extremely lacking, and at the same time, extremely confident.

One benefit this book has is a rogues' gallery of who's who in Jesus Mythicism. Casey seems to have a special dislike for people like Earl Doherty, Neil Godfrey, and Acharya S. Interestingly, Ken Humphries is not mentioned at all. It would have been nice to have seen more about Richard Carrier and it would be interesting to know what Casey would have thought if he had got to read Carrier's book.

Casey does rightly point out that we need to avoid fundamentalism, yet too often he seems to go extreme with that as well. How exactly does Ben Witherington get listed as a fundamentalist? He's anything but! It's also important to state that while some institutions of higher learning have a statement of faith, people who sign on to that and agree to teach there already agree with it based on years of research. I can point out that there is just as much on the other end of scholars who are willing to accept any explanation before they'd accept a miracle, no matter how bizarre. Despite that, they can still be excellent scholars and we should avail ourselves of their learning.

A major problem I had with the book of Casey's is that he really makes a lot out of knowing Aramaic.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book June 30, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent summary of all that is wrong with the both the views and scholarship of mythicists. He explains the historical method,evidence for the existence of Jesus,and shows the mythicist arguments for the red herrings they are. I highly recommend the book along with Bart Ehrman's" Did Jesus Exist?"
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feisty and convincing response to poor scholarship March 5, 2014
Dr Casey provides a feisty, personal, but well argued response to those who argue that Jesus never existed, and one that he thinks better than Bart Ehrman's recent book on the same subject, "Did Jesus Exist?". However, it is the latter that I should recommend for the general reader. (Casey does commend Ehrman's most important books, "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture" and "Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet". And Ehrman has now produced a large, generally attractively organised work for the student of or the newcomer to Biblical studies, "The Bible : A Historical and Literary Introduction" covering all of the Biblical books rightly including the Apocrypha / Deutero-Canonical works.)

Casey's is a quite long book (272 pp) but I read it on bus and train trips over two days - so for me it proved very readable and full of interest. Sometimes crustily (and one understands why) he convincingly answers the arguments not only of some (often ex-conservative evangelical, now atheist) writers who purport to be scholars, but also some enthusiastic bloggers whom, he argues, really do not deserve to be called scholars nor, I suggest, deserving so much attention!

An index of Biblical passages referred to in the text would have helped (and perhaps explains why there is some repetition with regard to relevant Biblical evidence) but for an author with ill-health, the production of this book is a great achievement and of course there is a good and detailed index. Again, there is no bibliography but throughout there are numerous and detailed foot-notes.

The style at times is rather informal, with one or two odd words, though the meaning of "preggers", presumably slang in England, was explained to me by its context !
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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
while reading this book i heard maurice casey died after a long sickness. that is tragic and i wonder if his illness had an influence on his tone against mythicists. maybe he would have been less harsh if he hadnt been ill. its sad to know this book -which is filled with so much scorn- is his last work. this is not a book to be remembered for.

Jesus: Evidence and ARGUMENT or MYTHICIST MYTHS? is supposed to be an academic piece of work by maurice but contrary to the title there is no evidence for his assumptions and his arguments in this book are several times anything but scholary. if he wasnt so arrogant and full of contempt i would have liked this book much more. it also would have been a better read if maurice had presented his assumptions for what they are: merely assumptions. instead of misleading readers by presenting those assumptions as evidence.

personally i hold the default opinion that we dont know if jesus did or didnt exist. it is impossible to proof. it can only be assumed if jesus was a historical person or a fictional character. its very likely there really was a self-proclaimed end of the world preacher named jesus from nazareth though we will never find out if the gospels are based on a real jesus or to what extent.

for maurice mythicists are motivated by an anti-christian agenda which doesnt make sence to me. im anti-christian and although i dont know if jesus really did or didnt exist it would have been better for my anti-christian conviction to believe jesus was a real historical person. after all if he did exist and he was like the jesus as described in the gospels this would mean to me jesus was a narcissistic mentally disturbed who suffered from delusions and megalomania.
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