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Not the Impossible Faith Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0557044641 ISBN-10: 0557044642

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Frequently Bought Together

Not the Impossible Faith + Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith + Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu.com (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0557044642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0557044641
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Richard Carrier is a published historian and philosopher, specializing in the philosophy of naturalism and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome. He's a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard with a B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in History and Classical Civilizations, and a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University. He has written extensively for the Secular Web and in various periodicals and books, and discussed his views in public all over the country and on TV.

Customer Reviews

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C.S. Lewis comes to mind.
Ashtar Command
The Kindle edition is quite good with one glaring shortcoming - the table of contents is not linked.
Jim Davis
As a former evangelical fundementalist Christian I was humbled in reading this book.
Damien Pickenforth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Damien Pickenforth on April 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a former evangelical fundementalist Christian I was humbled in reading this book. So many of the 'assumptions' I accepted from popular Christian apologists are based upon nothing more than shoddy historical research. I lost my faith in the bible as 'divinely inspired truth' due to things I learned in Cosmology. However, for a while I still didn't know what to do with Jesus and the resurrection. "How did this belief system just pop out of nowhere?" It just so happens that Richard Carrier is a scholar in the field of history from this time and sees right through these arguments that once led me captive. I was impressed by his knowledge of the subtleties of thought and customs that would make certain arguments that seem strong by todays standards, completely worthless. But this is what happens when one has a proposition (like the historicity and resurrection of Jesus) that they want to prove and defend; they scour ancient sources, lifting convenient quotes, while ignoring details that would weaken their efforts. I recommend this book to anyone interested in really getting to know the truth about Christian origins. This book has only made me look forward with even greater anticipation toward his forth coming work; 'On the Historicity of Jesus Christ.'
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88 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Richard W. Field on April 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I was not expecting much from this book. In the introduction we learn that this book was the product of an internet debate with J.P. Holding. I typically do not expect much from internet debates, even when I'm one of the debaters.

But I was pleasantly surprised. This book is a careful and scholarly consideration of the question of whether the historical truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at all necessary to explain the growth and ultimate success of Christianity.

Carrier takes his lead from points of Holding's argument by heading each chapter with a question raised (e.g., "Was Resurrection Deemed Impossible?" "Did No One Trust Women?"). In the course of responding to these questions we get an erudite examination of many lines of evidence of relevance. Carrier weighs in on the historical reliability of the Gospels, comparing them with the methods of critical historians of antiquity. He considers with considerable care the likely demographics of Christians in the first century. He reveals the prevalence of resurrection stories in ancient times, both within Judaism and within the wider Greco-Roman world.

It is regrettable that such scholarship was not published by a more prestigious publisher. It is understandable of course since any of the major publishers would have the same doubts as I did originally. But the scholarship of this volume deserves a wider readership. I hope it might achieve it, and I would wish that Carrier's future projects in this vein would be published more prominently.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Greg VINE VOICE on September 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Realizing that this book was written largely if not exclusively as a response to "The Impossible Faith," I think this work could have benefited from following the outline of that work less slavishly. I also think the book could have been half again as good if it would have been half as long. I understand--and usually appreciate--Dr. Carrier's careful and comprehensive scholarship, but "Not" suffers from some pretty distracting repitition (at least twice I said aloud to the book, "I get it, I get it already") and a penchant to, every paragraph or so, make a parenthetical reference to whichever chapter the subject under discussion is covered in more fully. Getting the information--excellent, well-researched, well-thought-out, and generally well-presented information--from the text became a job of extraction that was less pleasant than it could have been.

All of which sounds relentlessly negative, and the fact is, this is a very valuable book. The one-star reviewer makes some very facile cry-baby comment about how "Not" is biased, which is almost precisely what it is not. It is the first book I've seen of its kind, making a bright-line distinction between the rank assertions of apologists and facts that can be substantiated by evidence. Facts are indeed stubborn things, and they stand in the way of the sort of glib and ignorant faith that several neo-apologists advocate. "Not," along with some of Carrier's other works, stand as a potent, sober reminder that in promoting faith, many religionists are all too happy to stretch truth to the snapping point.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Jim Davis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Certain thoughts keep occurring over and over while reading this book. One is "Why does J. P. Holding's arguments require a relatively lengthy book to be refuted?" Holding's arguments seem to consist of a series of rhetorical questions which Carrier uses as chapter titles. Rhetorical questions are almost invariably a sign of the lack of sound arguments. Indeed, reduced to the basics Holding's argument reduces to "Who would make up a story like that? Therefore, it must be true."

In any event, Carrier makes short work of him. If this had been a boxing match the referee would have stopped it. Holding seems heavily overmatched here, so much so I began to suspect that perhaps Carrier was not being fair. Could Carrier be setting up so many strawmen and just knocking them over? A little research showed that if anything Carrier was being generous.

Despite the rather onesidedness the book is still worthwhile. Carrier is a capable writer and researcher and the picture that emerges of the first century Roman Empire and Christianity is fascinating. Carrier also confines himself to mainstream scholarship but points out that if alternative theories prove out Holdings case is not thereby improved.

The Kindle edition is quite good with one glaring shortcoming - the table of contents is not linked. The numerous footnotes are linked (fortunately). The other problems are the minor ones that seem to plague all ebooks like hyphens that shouldn't be there and the like.

All in all, a very informative and interesting read which I can recommend without hesitation.
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