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Jesus: Neither God Nor Man - The Case for a Mythical Jesus Perfect Paperback – October 5, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Earl Doherty has established himself as today s standard bearer for the re-emergent Christ Myth theory. This book, a greatly expanded edition of his earlier volume, The Jesus Puzzle, updates the original case and interacts with the debate as it has raged since the original book....

Earl Doherty is a masterful writer and an indefatigable scholar who leaves no relevant stone unturned. Any critic who seeks (desperately) to write him off because he writes without establishment academic credentials only demonstrates how far he himself falls short of recognizing real scholarship when he sees it. Has Doherty had to resort to publishing his own books? So did Hume. That s no excuse for anyone interested in the Christ Myth or the historical Jesus not to read this all-encompassing book...Earl Doherty's masterpiece. --Robert M. Price, author of Deconstructing Jesus, The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, and The Pre-Nicene New Testament.

Untangling the Traditions That Begot Early Christianity
Earl Doherty s Bold Inquiry

...[T]he chunks of the debate on the historical Jesus that typically reach the lay person are, as a rule, too shallow to attract sharp intellects with no dog in the fight. The result is the simultaneous preaching to parallel choirs of believers and infidels with little or no progress on the general understanding of the origins of Christianity.

A refreshing exception to this rule is the monumental work of Earl Doherty, Jesus: Neither God Nor Man, a revised and expanded edition of The Jesus Puzzle on top of which a decade s worth of new research has been added. This hefty tome presents an argument so bold it is no surprise it comes from outside the mainstream of New Testament scholarship, yet so compelling in its ability to explain contradictions in the existing theories that it may prove to be nothing less than a paradigm shift...

The bombshell conclusion that there was no flesh and blood Jesus ever is nothing new: The concept of the mythical Jesus has been in and out of vogue for centuries. What makes Doherty s theory a force to be reckoned with is its power to explain why the New Testament looks the way it does, and where all those puzzling inconsistencies came from. By unscrambling the two traditions and setting them in the right order, he has provided us with significant explanatory power...

Yet the demographic that should run to read Doherty s argument is current (or past) Christians with an inquisitive mind and an unsatisfied curiosity about the inconsistencies between the Gospels Jesus and the Epsitles Christ. If you fall into this category, do yourself a favour: Read this book, even if it s the only one you read on the subject. I did. And when I was done, I felt like a veil had been lifted from my eyes: the quest for truth had set me free. --Roberto Perez-Franco, Staff Writer, The Tech, Newspaper of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Friday November 6, 2009

A tour de force! --Michael Martin, author of The Case Against Christianity

About the Author

Earl Doherty is widely recognized as the world s leading Jesus mythicist. In a groundbreaking website (The Jesus Puzzle) established in 1996, followed by three books, The Jesus Puzzle (1999) Challenging the Verdict (2001), and now Jesus: Neither God Nor Man (2009), he demonstrates that Christianity began with a mythical Christ and that the Gospel Jesus was a later, fictional creation. While this view has been a minority position in New Testament scholarship for over a century, Earl Doherty s work is considered the most compelling case to date in support of this controversial theory. His degree in Ancient History and Classical Languages (Greek and Latin), supplemented by two decades of private study and research in all fields of biblical scholarship, is a reflection of a new wave of independent scholars who operate outside the confines of traditional academia. He is gaining an ever-expanding audience on the Web, and increasing book sales through Internet booksellers like Amazon.com.

In 2001, Earl Doherty formed his personal publishing house, Age of Reason Publications, and is now issuing all three of his books under this imprint. Its website, Age of Reason, is also recognized as a major voice on the Internet for the promotion of science and rationality, with commentary and reprints on a variety of topics. Its motto, and that of Age of Reason Publications, reads: Dedicated to attaining an Age of Reason in the application of rational thought to society s laws, ethics and beliefs, and to entering upon an age of reason in our individual lives. The enthusiastic reception it has enjoyed among those who value historical truth and social progress promises to have an impact on our times. Earl Doherty lives in Ottawa, Canada, and has recently attained senior citizen status.


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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 814 pages
  • Publisher: Age of Reason Publications; First edition (October 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0968925928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0968925928
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,943,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Perfect Paperback
Like the shorter original text of which this book is an expansion, The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus, Earl Doherty's newest effort is an excellent work analyzing the Christian conundrum using finely honed skills of perception as well as extraordinary erudition that stands out on every page. Jesus: Neither God Nor Man - The Case for a Mythical Jesus is a tour de force of scholarship rarely matched by either professional or lay experts. Despite the fact that he is not a professional New Testament scholar or theologian--or, rather, because of that fact--Doherty is able to cut through the often biased and self-interested "historical scholarship" that, in the case of religion, frequently sees common sense and logic sacrificed in favor of blind belief and fervent faith.

As we know from history, faith and belief constantly cloud and color reality in an unseemly manner, and scholarship and academia have suffered badly from this lack of unbiased approach. Fortunately, Doherty has no vested interest in upholding the status quo in order to maintain his vocation, the main reason the field of Jesus mythicism has been populated significantly by outsiders possessing no such investment. It is unfortunate that the hallowed halls of American academia frequently have not transcended their foundations as religious institutions, as was the case with Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Princeton, to name just a few.
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Format: Perfect Paperback
Earl Doherty has outdone himself once again and has contributed an excellent treatise for the scholarly community-arguing for a mythical Christos, one named Jesus of Nazareth-the poster boy of the Christian faith. I appreciate his dedication and in depth analysis on many topics, especially in the first parts of his book, where he discusses the origins of Christianity and the teachings of Paul with a heavenly Christ.

Mr. Doherty's preface and introduction, followed by his glossary and abbreviations and ultimately his "Twelve pieces of the Jesus Puzzle" were refreshing and well introduced on his part. Apologists, such as the infamous J.P. Holding, have previously attacked Earl for what they perceived as a lack of credentials. In my opinion, there was no need for Earl to justify his personal achievements in education (a B.A. with distinction in Ancient History and Classical Languages) to the reader. As Earl, and many others have pointed out, its the information and argument provided that is the point. If the arguments are sound and valid, at the end of the day, that is all that matters, not some ad hominem regarding semantics.

In the entire work, Part Four: A World of Myth and Savior Gods, for me, was the most enjoyable of all, specifically his chapter on mystery cults. I learned a lot of information in this section and his exhaustive examination shed light on many subjects that I was not previously well versed in.

Part Six: A Riotous Diversity, was also refreshing. Earl took the time to illustrate the importance of the Johanine community and what he calls the "Gnostic phenomenon", finishing up with a well written chapter on Ignatius.

Parts seven and eight of his book deal directly with the source book of Q.
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This is one of the few books available that argues for the Mythic Jesus theory in a comprehensive manner, and it does an superb job of proving its case. The original Christian concept of the Christ was of a heavenly Son of God without a ministry on earth. That is, no historical Jesus is needed to explain the genesis of Christianity. Going beyond simply showing the weakness of any case for an historical Jesus, Earl Doherty makes his own positive case against one, by demonstrating that much of the early Christian literature is inconsistent with a historical Jesus having existed. Earl defends the view that Paul's epistles have no place for a historical Jesus, and are totally silent with regard to one; likewise for the writers of the other New Testament epistles. At the same time Doherty shows that much of the New Testaments presents a Cosmic Christ whose work in bringing believers salvation was accomplish in a mythical non-earthly realm. Earl then explains the origins of the gospels as allegorical literature, based on midrash of the OT, and not intended to be read as eyewitness historical accounts. As a final step in making his case comprehensive, Earl deals with alleged secular references to Jesus and analyzes how Jesus is talked about by Christian writers in the second and third centuries.

In my opinion, Doherty's Jesus Myth theory has a very high probability of being correct in its essential details, even if it is not yet the view of any significant portion of New Testament scholars or classical historians. The lack of adherence to this theory by mainstream scholars is not due to any weakness in the theory itself.
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