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The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems Paperback – August 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 427 pages
  • Publisher: American Atheist Press (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578840171
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578840175
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert M. Price (Selma, NC), professor of scriptural studies at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, is the editor (with Jeffery Jay Lowder) of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave and the Journal of Higher Criticism. He is also the author of Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today's Pop Mysticisms; The Paperback Apocalypse: How the Christian Church Was Left Behind; The Reason-Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? and many other works.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Derek Murphy on August 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I first started reading Dr. Price's work as a theology student; his research was beginning of my own pursuit of the historical Jesus which led to my book Jesus Potter Harry Christ: The Surprising Parallels that Expose the Truth about the Historical Jesus, the Christ Myth, and the Secret Origins of Christianity. I feel his frustration in passages like "At the outset of a controversial essay, let me try for a moment to make it easier for readers to resist the temptation to dismiss what I say based on tired stereotypes."

Price has the academic background and intelligence to provide spot-on arguments exploring the historical-mythical Christ dilemma. He's fighting against an army of Bible Scholars who refuse to change their beliefs about the historical Jesus and leading the charge for a thought reform that would undermine Christian tradition. I agree with him that this overhaul is necessary and worthwhile:

"If we appeal instead to "received opinion" or "the consensus {30} of scholars," we are merely abdicating our own responsibility, as well as committing the fallacy of Appeal to the Majority."

Some other gems include:
"And the Principle of Analogy applies here as well: which do the gospel stories resemble more closely: contemporary experience or ancient miracle tales? Which is more likely: that a man walked on water, glowed like the sun, and rose from the dead, or that someone has rewritten a bunch of well-known miracle stories?"

Beginners to Christ Myth Theory might be intimidated by the scholasticism of this book; but for skeptics looking for a deeper understanding of the issues, well worth reading.
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98 of 115 people found the following review helpful By Steve Beck on May 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Robert M Price ends this brilliant book with the words "Jesus [probably] never walked the earth," and he backs up this assertion with abundant evidence and persuasive argument, so that, I believe, any unbiased and intelligent reader would either have to agree with him or at least be strongly swayed towards his conclusion. In an amazing 205 page chapter he puts one after another New Testament story about Jesus side by side with one or more Old Testament stories, so the reader can see clearly for himself that the NT stories are only rewritten or reworked OT stories; and as Dr Price points out, if Jesus really existed, why didn't the NT authors write about him instead of describing him only in terms of ancient stories about other biblical figures? In addition, Price points out that the Jesus story fits a common story pattern of mythic heroes in ancient times, and that there is no good historical documentation that he ever existed as a real person. Others, such as Earl Doherty, have also written good books arguing that Jesus was only a myth, but Price's book is a valuable addition to the field, and I recommend it to anyone interested in finding out the truth about the subject. My only problem with the book is that sometimes Dr Price writes a bit densely and woodenly, but for the most part it is clearly and well written.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By david on November 13, 2012
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I have an interest in the subject and have heard Roberts podcasts so bought this. He uses his academic background to detail his argument that Jesus never exsisted. Lots of detail and evidence is presented. Personally I still feel a man called Jesus at least walked the district but has subsequently been mythologised. Where the mythology was sourced Robert explains well. Great resource and while a little pedantic at times this is a great academic result.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Weel on April 19, 2014
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It is hard for me to evaluate this book with a simple star rating.

As a collection of scholarly essays, it is excellent. Price knows his source material and its historical context inside and out. The way he treats the existing literature is polite in style but ruthless in substance, and he does not shy away from pointing out how much traditional understandings owe to theological prejudice. It is hard to imagine anyone reading and understanding his arguments and not conceding that mythicism ought at least to be included in the scholarly discourse as a plausible alternative theory.

If Dr Price intended this book as an accessible one, though, I fear he did not succeed. This is not "mythicism for dummies". The book presumes some familiarity with early church history, biblical criticism, and theology. Even if you gloss over the untranslated bits of German and Greek, you'd better know the difference between christology and soteriology and be ready to tackle phrases like "a Q-like list of dominical maxims" and "Marcionite authorship of [...] 'Pauline' material".

That said, you don't need a Ph.D. to understand this. One or two Bart Ehrman books should do the trick. Or you can listen to Dr Price's excellent podcasts ("The Bible Geek" and "The Human Bible") for a while. Heck, you could even just start reading and look up any unfamiliar terminology on Wikipedia.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K.C. Sierra on August 21, 2013
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The idea that Jesus never existed is a controversial one, and not one that seems to be accepted by most scholars.

In this book, Robert Price treats scholarly consensus as an "argument from authority," and refuses to accept the premise that Jesus was an actual historical figure just because scholars agree that he was. This should not be a big deal -- if scholars have good reasons to believe there was a historical Jesus, then an honest look at the evidence should show it.

As Price demonstrates, an honest look at the evidence is not quite as conclusive as scholars make it out to be. Objective evidence concerning the existence of Jesus is actually rather sparse. To conclude that Jesus did exist, one must look at the biased evidence -- the gospels written by people who did believe in a historical Jesus -- and the circumstantial evidence -- this religion we now call Christianity had to come from SOMETHING, after all.

I was not convinced, after reading this book, that Jesus never existed. When Price reviews problems with the Christ-Myth theory, I found those problems compelling, answered more easily by the proposition that there really was a historical Jesus.

Of course, just because Jesus existed [if we were to assume that he did] does not mean he claimed to be what the gospels say he claimed, nor does it prove that those claims were true. I find it easier to believe that legends grew around a man than to believe that the man himself was merely legend.

Price here gives good reasons to question the existence of a historical Jesus, but not quite enough to make me doubt it.
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