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A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins (Foundations & Facets) Paperback – January 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Foundations & Facets
  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Publishers (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800625498
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800625498
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A Myth of Innocence is surely one of the most important studies of the origins of Christianity since Schweitzer's Quest. With a single stroke, Burton Mack has shifted the investigation from the quest for a singular genesis to the perspective of the social history and imaginative labor documented in the texts." -- Ron Cameron, Wesleyan University

"A Myth of Innocence is the most penetrating historical work on the origins of Christianity written by an American scholar in this century. Its strikingly innovative feature is the recombination of literary and social histories, and the placement of diverse Jesus movements into their respective social contexts." -- Werner H. Kelber, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"This imaginative book is not just a study of the Gospel of Mark, but of primitive Christianity in all its variegated forms, for which it represents a new paradigm ... It deserves serious reflection and discussion at several levels, in a variety of contexts, by quite diversified discussion partners." -- James M. Robinson, Professor Emeritus, Claremont Graduate University

"This is an epic-making work because it turns scholarship on its head. Mack asks questions not about origins but about social meaning. The entire conception of what we want to know, why we want to know it, and how we shall find it out is new and compelling." -- Jacob Neusner, Bard College

About the Author

Burton L. was Professor of New Testament at Claremont School of Theology, and is the author of Rhetoric and the New Testament (Guides to Biblical Scholarship; Fortress Press, 1989); The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins (1993); Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth (1995); and The Christian Myth: Origins, Logic, and Legacy (2001).

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mack is somewhat the bad boy of Jesus and Early Christian scholarship. Most Christians I know hate him. That is mainly because they haven't read his books. This book has a cover designed to irritate fundementalists. First it calls Christianity a Myth which is the correct word for any such tradition (just because it's a myth doesn't assume that it was made up). It also has a picture of a lion on the front which makes people believe that Mack is hostile towards the Christian myth. Not at all, in fact, the lion is from a seventh century Mosaic that depicts the four gospel writers and animals they represent, Luke is a person, Matthew I believe is an Ox, John is an eagle, and Mark is a Lion. Simple as that. Those who undertake to crack the cover and read this book will find it to be good scholarship and an exciting journey into the world of Mark. It is well informed and comes from one of New Testament scholarships most proific writers. Although Mack is now retired I sincerely hope he will continue writing, I will certainly continue reading his work.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By George Eager on March 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
It's quite true, as one reviewer said, that Burton Mack's prose is in places needlessly impenetrable. But press on! His analysis of the Gospel of Mark is brilliant, and in its way, revolutionary. It certainly enhanced my appreciation for the literary achievement of the evangelist, and brought into sharp focus the structure and balance of the gospel. A good book to read along with Myth of Innocence is JD Crossan's Birth of Christianity. That too has some irksome stylistic features, but in terms of getting an interesting perspective on the material, these two books are very good.

Sometimes you just have to strap on the full armor of whoiwhatsit and slog through the swampy places to get to a higher vantage point.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is perhaps one of the most important books on New Testament studies you'll ever read. It puts the creation of Christianity in a social /historical context. It's up to you to decide whether his conclusion is accurate or not. I agree with him - that Christianity was a myth created under particular social/historical conditions in Palestine during the first century.

Other people have commented that it is difficult reading. I agree, but it's well worth it. Forge through it, and you'll be that much better for it at the end.
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21 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I completely disagree with Mack's conclusion that Christianity was 'made up' later. That said, his meticulous footnoting made a wonderful resource that I still look to for information and his research is thorough and engaging. His conclusion, relating a concoted Christianity to the evils of Reaganomics, is just plain wacky.
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