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C'mon guys, Is this really the best conclusion you could come up with??
on December 31, 2010
This is the first book of Freke & Gandy that I've bought although I've browse others many times in the bookstore. I do like they style of writing and the numerous footnotes they use. I question their final conclusions which is why the low rank on this review. The conclusion that Jesus never existed is not really supported by their arguments. Perhaps I've studied this topic for too long and am aware of other evidence they 'could' have used but didn't, that makes me so disappointed. Having also just finished another book, the Jesus Conspiracy which is the same hypothesis but not nearly as polished as Freke and Gandy's style, it takes little research to realize that this is not an original premise, but it's never been put forth by anyone claiming to be true scholars as Freke & Gandy do. The problem with this psuedo-scholarship is that other scholars never read it, nor would they take it serious if they did. If was ever considered a true 'threat' that people took seriously, there would be a ton of rebuttals coming forth. For those who are laypersons they are easily convinced when someone picks and chooses only the evidence they want that supports their thesis. Don't get me wrong, the authors are correct in linking the mysteries, with the myths, which many Christians will not want to hear because it will threaten their belief systems unless they understand what was really happening. But the book seems to be written to support the authors pre-existing belief system rather than discover truth, or perhaps with the hopes of creating a controversy and selling many books. There are a couple arguments the authors seems to hang their hat on. 1.) The lack of evidence does not give the author free reign to come up with their own conclusion. For example, one of my ancestors was escorted out of this country after the Revolutionary War (or War of Rebellion as the Brits called it), and we have no records or marriages or births in Canada for the first twenty odd year. It would be foolish for me to conclude that no one was born during that period of time, but that in essence is the strength of their argument. 2.) They also make it a point that Paul never met Jesus. But to suggest that Paul never thought of Jesus as historical is seriously flawed. Paul (or Saul) was a great persecutor of Christianity. There are records of hims starting riots at the Temple with in a short time after the death of Jesus. He also held the coat of those that stoned Stephen who professed Jesus to be the Son of Man (only a few years after the crucifixion). 3.) Of course, the authors would like to throw out those records because the were written by those conspiring to invent this Jesus. Here's where their argument become circular. Histories are always written after the fact, but to discredit one as false since is was it (the gospels) were written thirty years after Jesus death is not logical. Here was a great opportunity to address the issue other scholars have been wrestling with of parallel myths and where they came from, but they fail to address that issue, and assume that since they are similar to the Jesus story that the Jesus story must have been made up. Their agenda becomes very obvious and in my book only discredits their work. This is not to criticize their entire book. There is evidence that since the authors did use stories handed down that some of the text are conflicting and even fabricated on certain issues. To not use a record because it was written by a Christian author, is as silly as not using an American author who writes about American history because his view might be bias. Of course they are bias, it is impossible to separate an author from his bias. Just as it is impossible for Freke & Gandy to separate their theis from their own belief system. But for me to conclude that since their main thesis is flawed, therefore Freke and Gandy never existed, would be illogical.