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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2005
I came on this book after reading the triptych review on Earl Doherty's website (The Jesus Puzzle). This fascinating review covered Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code (a rather ordinary by-the-numbers thriller--but with a world class "hook"), Ki Longfellow's extraordinary and exquisite The Secret Magdalene, and Price's The Da Vinci Fraud. After reading Doherty, whom I greatly admire, I bought the Price and the Longfellow books. (Dan Brown doesn't need my money, or my time.) The book by Longfellow belongs in any truth seeker's library, or for that matter in the library of any lover of fine literature...but I do wish all those who now salivate over the bloodline of Jesus and the Magdalene would stop long enough to read Mr. Price's book. The endless debate over this possiblity or that, the titillation over mysteries that are not so mysterious if all involved would stop for a moment and look at some "hard facts." Price presents his hard facts in a straight forward fashion, and after a while these facts, building one on the other, are hard to refute. Just as Earl Doherty tears away the walls of accepted dogma, brick by brick, so too does Price. Doherty is the more accessible, the more sympathetic in the reading. But Price has a lot to say about the historicity of Jesus, about the true basis for the legend of the Grail, about the Christian Church's absorbtion of other people's myths which they then call their "truths", and a great deal of it of much value. My god, how the world would change if only people had eyes to see and ears to hear.

This book takes a bit of patience in the reading, but it's well worth the time and effort. In fact, clearing away the centuries of lies and obfuscations and tyranny over our own inner worlds is worth any effort.

Highly recommended.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2006
A fun ride with Price in which he sets up a powerful conclusion including: "Since historical judgments are based on ever-new discoveries and reevaluations, opinions about the past must remain tentative and provisional".

A few months ago a housing development issue in my city caught my attention. After meetings at city hall, with a neighborhood group, speaking with many individuals, searching records on the Web I still don't understand what happened. People who'd been at the same meeting described it differently to me. How then can I hope to be clear about many events at different times in history going back thousands of years?

It took me 100 pages to become absorbed in "The Da Vinci Fraud" but by then I was largely hooked. However, a later chapter about Gospels that were excluded from the canonical Bible seems fragmented. Footnoting seemed sparser than it should be for a book refuting another based on history. But trying to establish history may not have been the point of a book that, after all, demonstrates the danger of relying on historical claims. All in all, a tour de force packed with eye-openers and a killer conclusion.

Even the best we can do with history can't remove the uncertainties we face in the present.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2006
THE DA VINCI FRAUD is an interesting book which not only refutes many of the misleading claims found in Dan Brown's DA VINCI CODE but also gives a broad overview of the origins of Christianity as well as the events leading up to the formation of the New Testament Canon.

Price has an informal style which belies a wide knowledge of the history of early Christianity. He has a knack for mixing speculation with facts to increase the reader's interest.

In disputing Brown's work, Price gives his own version of the truth about the Templar Knights, Constantine, the Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene and the Resurrection of Jesus. The most absorbing part of the book, however, is the author's discussion of Gnosticism and also the Gospels which were not included in the Bible.

I enjoyed THE DA VINCI FRAUD particularly for its extensive treatment of the politics of forming the New Testament. I found it helpful to have already read Elaine Pagels' THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS and Karen L. King's THE GOSPEL OF MARY MAGDALA.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2005
Not five because of the sometimes close sailing to pedantry here, but nothing like the amount found in a great many other works of scholarship I could mention. Mr. Price is a pioneer. He's not exactly out there alone in his hewing away of dead decayed wood, but his voice is one those of us seeking a way out of a forest of damaging soul destroying ideology, long in the making and long in need of severe pruning, hear loud and clear. Hew away, woodsman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2007
The best-seller novel THE DA VINCI CODE by Dan Brown sold millions and stirred imagination and debate, weaving theories about Christian origins with a fictional murder mystery. New Testament scholar Robert Price, member of the Jesus Seminar, here examines the fallacies of Christian history and usage in THE DA VINCI CODE, drawing important connections between fantasy and real history and adding religious insights based on known facts about Jesus and his life, the Gospels, and historical figures. Readers who have followed THE DA VINCI CODE will find THE DA VINCI FRAUD: WHY THE TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION equally engrossing.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2005
Like all conspiracies, we need people to dig through all the dirt other people pile up, and let the truth see the sun again. If it's what really happened on and before Sept. 11th, or the killing of Kennedy, or whatever, anyone who has the balls to do the work has my vote and my admiration. Mr. Price certainly does.
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on December 15, 2010
I'm not interested in an expose of Dan Brown's "The Davinci Code", I consider it a fictional story and a great read.

What I wanted to learn in this book is are there any solid facts to be found in any of the stories and/or Scriptures for Christianity. I figured that Mr Price would be able to lay it all down there in a way that allows a person to decide for themselves if the whole Christian structure is just another saviour faith
among many.

But what I feel now after reading the book, is that there are no bedrock documents, no pure thread of story or tradition. Like a mathematics without the basic theroms, there is nothing solid to come forward from.

After saying that, I still like the book for showing me that is the reality of the case. If somewhere among all of the maze of gospels and scriptures, folktales and legends that make up the corps of Christianity such accurate accounts exist - we can't detect them after the copyists, redactors, revisors, and just plain spin-meisters have done theire work.

Maybe somewhere in Egypt there is another cache of scrolls to help us figure it all out.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2007
This is my first book I've read from Mr. Price and I considered this work to be one of the best in explaining to the basic layman on the roots of Christianity and the fraud behind the Da Vinci Code.

Now we must really understand that the Da Vinci Code was written in 'fiction'; so I have nothing against Dan Brown at all. It's just that it has influenced millions of people to believe it is 'non-fiction', therefore Mr. Price's response was appropriate.

Considerate, to the point, and realistic, this book is one of the more scholarly works in refuting The Da Vinci Code. Maybe he should write one about the Talpiot tomb/Lost Tomb of Jesus?
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on November 4, 2014
I rate this book as accessible as well as informative, quite an achievement given that this 'lay' read can, like all the R Price books quickly becomes not so lay if one is not acquainted with early Christianity or not prepared to work at being so.
He writes better than Brown, not hard, and the majority, maybe all, of those writing on these subjects.
A comprehensive christological education awaits anyone only fleetingly aware of early Christianity.
An even better history of the canon up to about 500 C E - is found here.
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11 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2006
According to the editor details in my copy of Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos:

"Robert M. Price discovered the work of H.P. Lovecraft at the age of thirteen. At the age of thirty-seven [this book was published 14 years ago] he is still going strong. For a decade he has been the editor of Crypt of Cthulhu and a frequent contributor to Lovecraftian Studies and Studies in Weird Fiction."

Is this the same Robert M. Price who wrote this book, or are there two people using the same name for their works of fiction? For in the final analysis this is surely what much of this book is.

The members of the nineteenth century, Tubingen-based school of so-called higher criticism based their thinking on the ideas of German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel. This is not really so surprising since Hegel was so far out of touch with reality that, when a student pointed out that his analysis of certain historical events had completely misrepresented the facts, he complacently responded: "So much the worse for the facts."

Despite all the media hype it has garnered, the self-styled "Jesus Seminar" is very much a fringe group (in academic circles), whose members seem to be attempting to resurrect higher criticism - and with the same carefree disregard for the facts.

Despite the claims at the front of the book, The Da Vinci Code is, in reality, nothing more than a purely fictional thriller, written with questionable literary skill, based on a hoax perpetrated in the 1950s by French forger and anti-semite Pierre Plantard and his colleagues, funnelled through the poorly-argued (and, by the authors' own admission, totally speculative) Holy Blood, Holy Grail (which has been around since the early 1980's - yet with a noticeable lack of collapse on the part of Christianity in general or the Roman Catholic Church in particular).

Presumably in an attempt to ride the wave of hysteria surrounding Dan Brown's novel, Price debunks one story whilst presenting us with an equally fictional account of what he and his colleagues in the "Seminar" claim are the origins of Christianity. It's the sort of trick frequently found in works on ID (intelligent design) - the author starts out addressing one subject, and then, when the reader is hooked, switches to the ID - or in this case the "Jesus Seminar" - propaganda.

Unfortunately, as with the earlier acolytes of higher criticism, the reasoning of the members of the "Seminar" is somewhat similar to the US TV show "Jeopardy!", or to a process known in IT circles as "reverse engineering". First they decide what they believe - then they work backwards to find evidence that justifies to their beliefs. The ultimate flaw is that there is absolutely no chance that the evidence will ever be evaluated at face value. Instead it is assumed that all evidence which supports the "Jesus Seminar" beliefs MUST be true/accurate/etc., and by the same totally subjective yardstick, any evidence that points to a different conclusion is treated as though it is, by definition, inaccurate/false/etc. and therefore need not be considered.

So, if you want a book which reflects this kind of religious bigotry to make its case against Christianity, then you may well find this very satisfying.

For a far better analysis of the flaws in the current crop of anti-Christian fiction, especially The Da Vinci Code, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Templar Revelation, and The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, etc. then you may well find the recently released DVD The Real Da Vinci Code a far more credible and satisfying mixture of accurate, agnostic, investigative reporting and entertaining/irreverent presentation (without any hint of "dumbing down").
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