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Unmasking the Pagan Christ: An Evangelical Response to the Cosmic Christ Idea Paperback – June 1, 2006


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Unmasking the Pagan Christ: An Evangelical Response to the Cosmic Christ Idea + Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth + How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Clements Publishing (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894667719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894667715
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stanley E. Porter is President and Dean, and Professor of New Testament, at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Porter has M.A. degrees from Claremont Graduate School and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and the Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield. He has written widely on issues of concern in study of the New Testament, such as Jesus, Paul, the book of Acts, and John. He has a passion for education in the church, and preaches and teaches regularly. Stephen J. Bedard is the pastor of Woodford Baptist Church and First Baptist Church, Meaford, Ontario, Canada. He holds the M.Div. and M.Th. degrees from McMaster Divinity College, and is actively engaged in further graduate study. Bedard is an advocate of informed preaching and teaching, and is devoted to the ministry of the local church.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Discerning Reader on June 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book refutes the idea Christianity burrowed from ancient Egyptian religion. It does so by quoting the actual texts from Egyptian religion, and setting them beside Christian texts for comparison. It was an excellent book.

Unfortunately, only one chapter was dedicated to refuting the claim that Christianity borrowed from Mithra-ism. It was a good chapter, but I wish there was more treatment on this topic. That is why I had to subtract one star.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This concise work decisively counters the myth that the findings of Egyptology present damaging blows to the Christian faith. Chapter by chapter, Porter and Bedard tackle each premise and take them apart with consistent logic thereby showing the fallacious nature of the argument that Christianity depends on ancient Egyptian mythology. I wish more were written on this subject from a more general standpoint seeing this is a direct refutation of Harper's work. There are more books such as the Christ of Horus etc out there. Hopefully this tackles the same ideas promoted in those treatments. Very good read.
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14 of 23 people found the following review helpful By C. Price VINE VOICE on August 26, 2006
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This book is a readable and short response to Tom Harpur's The Pagan Christ, which argues that Jesus never existed except as an allegorical understanding of true spirituality. New Testament scholars and historians usually avoid such marginal ideas, but - as Porter and Bedard explain - Harpur has garnered more attention than most advocates of the Jesus Myth (the notion that Jesus did not really exist). Given the vacuity of Harpur's ideas, the only explanation for the attention is his credentials. Harpur seems to be an otherwise smart fellow, being a Rhodes Scholar and having taught Greek and New Testament at Wycliffe College.

Harpur's main thesis is that Jesus did not exist as a real person, but only as a symbolic representation of universal spiritual principles based on pagan dying and rising savior figures. According to Harpur, Egyptian myth and religion as well as Mithraism (a pagan cult) are the true roots of Christianity. But as Porter and Bedard demonstrate in the first two-thirds of their book, Harpur's argument rests on misrepresentations of the nature of the forerunning Egyptian beliefs, the couching of very different ideas and events in inapplicable Biblical terms, unsourced references to primary sources, dependence on secondary sources who themselves were even more wrong than Harpur, reversed chronologies (such as seeing Mithraic influences on Christianity when the reverse is much more likely) and a no-doubt genuine desire to fashion a universal religious ethic out of the world's different religions.

After reading these chapters, the term "not even wrong" comes to mind as an apt description of Harpur's reconstruction. Scientists use it to refer to theories that are so bad, so erroneous, so far off, that they are not even worthy of being called wrong.
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21 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Dean on January 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Having read the other reviews, I wonder if we are reading the same book. I suppose if one fervently wanted to discredit Harpur's "The Pagan Christ," this book would be viewed as wonderful in the extreme. But for unimpassioned readers looking for a constructive discussion of the not-really-original thesis in Harpur's work, it falls far short. If Porter and Bedard were really up to the task, they could have tried to explain why Paul didn't know any of the wonderful stories about Jesus that only later cropped up in the Gospels, and why many of the other would-be gospels that were rejected often had significantly different "historical" versions of events (take the Gospel of Peter, for instance). There is also the basic issue of the lack of consistency between the accepted Gospels themselves. Clearly, resolving these issues must be the first step in any defense of the notion of an "historic" Jesus. Personally, there are many problems and errors in Harpur's work, which I would hope to see resolved in future editions. But none of them proves fatal to the core thesis. This is an issue that can not be resolved, by either side, without some lucky archaeological find that supports one side or the other. But to argue about the veracity of historical events based solely on works of literature is to invite an unending debate. Sadly, this book by Porter and Bedard adds little to the debt itself, and is mostly poorly argued rhetoric. For serious students of religion, I would give it a pass unless you are interested in something about the "true believers" retort.
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11 of 41 people found the following review helpful By James Patrick Holding on August 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
I give it only 4 stars rather than 5 because I wish it were LONGER.

In this volume, two NT scholars give Tom "I Threw My Common Sense Away" Harpur the thrashing in print he's deserved since he exported the toxic waste titled The Pagan Christ from his pen. Porter and Bedard survey the positive evidence for the historical Christ and also briefly undermine the credibility of Harpur's fave sources, Kuhn and Massey. I wish they'd have done more on these guys, but having done a few numbers on them myself I can understand why they wouldn't want to. Too much of nut like Massey and Kuhn can make your stomach turn.

Buy it for two reasons: To counter Harpur's role as Nut in Chief, and to show your support for MORE stuff like this to be on the market.
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