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Archibald Robertson (1886-1961) was a British atheist and Socialist; he was also the son of The Right Reverend Archibald Robertson (1853-1931), the Anglican Bishop of Exeter. He also wrote books such as Morals in world history,, The Bible and Its Background, etc.
He wrote in the Foreword to this 1946 book, "Did Jesus ever live? Is he a man who somehow became deified, or a god who somehow became humanized?... If Jesus was not God, does it matter much whether he lived or not? This is a reasonable question. Certainly the Rationalist has no stake in the matter. For the Christian... the substantial accuracy of the Gospel records is a vital issue. But once we drop the profession of Christianity in any shape or form, the question of the existence of Jesus, like that of the existence of Homer, Buddha, [King] Arthur, William Tell, or Faustus, is an historical puzzle interesting to the curious, but fraught for us with no religious consequence of moment. As such I have tried to treat it in this book." (Pg. xi)
He observes, "Assuming ... that the Gospels were edited in the interest of Pauline theology, whence came that theology? And why did the New Testament writers select, as a peg on which to hang their myth, a man who on the showing of the critics had nothing in common with the subject of the myth except the manner of his death? The difficulty of explaining Pauline Christianity in terms of a human Jesus is aggravated by the total silence of the Epistles on his career and teaching.Read more ›
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Archibald Robertson wrote this major book on JESUS: MYTH or HISTORY in 1946, which was the best presentation of the famous controversy between "mythicism" and "historicity" at that time. Robertson gained a special place on the roster by being the writer who coined the word "mythicist" to describe "the upholder of the theory that Jesus is a myth". He used the result of his analysis in another excellent book on THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIANITY (1962), where he pitched the mythical aspect of the new cult versus its historical foundations.
This is a small book, published 66 years ago, but truly, it should be better known. It is very readable, and summarizes extremely well the debates about the famous problem of the existence of Jesus Christ. This book is the best I have found in clearly explaining the issues involved. Not much outside reading is necessary, as the discussion of the various arguments flows very well. So, if you're ever tempted to give it a try, this is the best book available on the subject. All the Bible passages can be instantly read online with the famous BibleGateway search site, in any version possible.
This book definitely is another text of Robertson that deserved a new printing, for its original treatment of a vital subject and for its extreme clarity. And it delves in issues for which our culture in this early 21st century has developed a furious interest, to the delight of publishers and writers. So we can only congratulate "Nabu Press" for bringing a recent printing of this book to market (2011), even if it is only a scanned copy of the original. I personally prefer the original 1946 hard-cover, noting that a used one is being offered for $3 on Amazon, a great bargain.Read more ›
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