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Editorial Reviews


Who Was Jesus? is a fine work, characterized by your unique ability to spot neglected implications and aspects of debates... --Robert M. Price, Ph.D, The Pre-Nicene New Testament

D.M. Murdock, aka "Acharya S," has written a really fine introduction to the problem of the Historical Jesus. She couches everything in the most basic terms, comprehensible to the layman, and lays out the problem and all the issues in a both really readable and digestible form. Her charts are insightful and extremely useful and presented in such a way as to make things immediately plausible to the general reader. I can recommend her work whole-heartedly for anyone on a world-wide basis who really wants to know what is at stake in approaching and coming to terms with the real person behind the literary image provided by those who created the story of "Jesus." --Robert H. Eisenman, Ph.D, The New Testament Code

I loved this book. It is absolutely superb in every way, from the eloquence of the writing to the integrity of the scholarship. This book should be required reading in every American classroom.... Ms. Murdock is one of only a tiny number of scholars with the richly diverse academic background (and the necessary courage) to adequately address the question of whether Jesus Christ truly existed as a walking-talking figure in first-century Palestine. This question, and many others related to New Testament reliability, are directly confronted and satisfyingly answered in Who Was Jesus? My personal recommendation is that Who Was Jesus? should be the first book purchased and studied by anyone, atheist or true believer, who wants to debate Jesus' existence and the Bible's veracity.... You should therefore make this book priority reading even over The God Delusion, God is Not Great and other excellent but, in my opinion, less important books than Murdock's! .... --David Mills, Atheist Universe

I've known people with triple Ph.D's who haven't come close to the scholarship here. I think I've read every popular alternative theory about Jesus that has come down the pike--with Who Was Jesus? I was very impressed. --Pastor David Bruce, M.Div Pastor David Bruce, M.Div Pastor David Bruce, M.Div,

Thirty years ago, when in divinity school, I might have had second thoughts about becoming an Episcopal priest if a book like D. M. Murdock's Who Was Jesus? had been available to me. Murdock's book, probably the best of this genre - written with clarity, precision, and conviction - unpacks most of the nonsense and mythology surrounding the ancient Hebrew figure called Jesus and presents a compelling picture of a mythological amalgam to counter most of the misinformation and wishful-thinking that passes for Christian apologetics today. -- Bob Semes, Retired Professor of History and Religion

From the Author

Please note that this is a new cover and slightly revised edition of the same book with the light-blue cover and solar flare in the center.

I wrote this book, Who Was Jesus?, after many people asked me to produce a simple and easy-to-read introduction to the problems with the New Testament, both in its creation/history and within the text itself. This book has been deemed "kinder and gentler" by one Christian apologist, as it more-or-less gently leads the reader from a neutral recitation of the gospel story according to Matthew, proceeding through the other gospels and showing how they differ, into the problems with the dating of the canonical gospels, as well as the lack of mention of Jesus Christ, Christians or Christianity in the works of dozens of writers during the first and second centuries, and so on.

This book differs from my others in that it focuses on the Christian texts themselves, mainly limited to the four canonical gospels, with only a few, brief discussions relating some comparative mythology. It contains information that was difficult to find and does not appear in my other works, such as the writings of early Church fathers in which they discuss the creation of the canonical gospels as having taken place during what we now call the second century.

The book is also unique in that it uses the works of many well-respected Christian authorities and apologists, as well as New Testament scholars and theologians, revealing a strain of critical scholarship that few laymen are familiar with.

Many people have found it useful to provide copies of Who Was Jesus? to their Christian friends and family members, so they too can learn about the problems with the New Testament that scholars have addressed over the past several centuries into the most modern times.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Stellar House Publishing, LLC (November 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979963109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979963100
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

D.M. Murdock, also known by her pen name, "Acharya S," is the author of several books on comparative religion and mythology, including "The Christ Conspiracy," "Suns of God," "Who Was Jesus?" and "Christ in Egypt." She is also the author of "The Gospel According to Acharya S," which seeks to answer some long-held questions concerning the nature of God, religion and humankind's place in the world.

Murdock is an alumna of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, where she studied Classics, Greek Civilization. She has lived in Greece and is also an alumna of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. Acharya has excavated at Corinth, Greece, where tradition has St. Paul addressing the Corinthians, as well as at a Paleo-Indian site in the U.S. She speaks, reads and/or writes to varying degrees English, French, Spanish, ancient and modern Greek, Latin, German and other languages.

Acharya/Murdock has several websites, including,, and

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 109 people found the following review helpful By L. Ball on December 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am not aware of another book on the subject of Christianity that packs more information into 284 pages than Who Was Jesus? D. M. Murdock, also known as Acharya, has written another very fine book on New Testament studies. This volume concentrates on the person of Jesus, but also goes into great detail about how the New Testament was compiled, and how we can determine for ourselves the reliability of the writings. Many dozens of topics are covered in a way that lay people can understand, and the format is designed in such a way that material is very easy to find, because the exhaustive table of contents identifies the subject matter so well. The planning and the detail in this book show that everything is well thought out and clearly presented. It is nice to find a book for people who have serious questions about Jesus and Christianity that provides answers in a straight forward manner without meandering and rambling. This is a first class piece of work that will be referred to over and over by the readers.

The history of Jesus is conveyed in detail for each of the four Gospels, including issues about the dating and authorship of these books. Murdock clearly shows us where the New Testament writers are using historical information and where they are adding their own theological ideas to the text. This book helps to make it more clear for us how and why the New Testament was a progressive compilation that tended to make Jesus more God-like with each telling of the story. This volume also shows the importance of understanding that the New Testament took time to be collected, and it also took time to determine which books were included in the canon, because the finished product was completed in centuries, not decades.

Christians and skeptics alike will find Who Was Jesus?
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By John L. Reardon on December 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the second book by this author that I have read and I am simply overwhelmed by the research, the scholarship and the use of pure reason in dismantling the thinly-veiled mythology behind Christianity. In a well-written and very readable volume, D.M. Murdock (Acharya S) uses Christianity's own words and works to lay before the reader in clear and easily understood prose how the early Christian fathers reworked ancient myths to create a fictional character named Jesus Christ who seemed to embody all the qualities of the gods and legends these simple pagans already worshiped

I am a historian, although my bailiwick is military history, and yet I have always been interested in the history of things. Back in my prep school days, I started to delve into the history of Christianity and found a great deal that I felt I wanted no part of. I gave up my religion at about age sixteen, passing up gladly the easy allure of blind faith for the stonier path of reason. In Ms. Murdock's work I have finally been able to exorcise those last remaining doubts brought about by the early programming I received in school and church.

I would highly recommend this work, especially to those who prize their ability to think for themselves, as well as Acharya's previous volumes, particularly "The Christ Conspiracy" and "The Suns of God."

Well done and brava!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By P. Baumann on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book seems to be the most universally appreciated text by D.M. Murdock, aka Acharya S. Perhaps it is because the author cites, almost exclusively, the works of Christian writers (early church founders, modern scholars, et. all). And, yet, she demonstrates, very convincingly and modestly, a thesis completely at odds with the intentions of the majority of her sources. This is one of the most fascinating examples of "turning the tables" I've experienced.

Who Was Jesus is not as offensive to Christians as some of the author's other works, because she manages to prove her thesis without relying on "secular" scholars. This is not an easy feat. As a writer myself, I appreciate the incredible patience it must have taken for this author to do this.

My brother is in seminary, studying to be a Seventh Day Adventist pastor. He's studying Church history, ancient Greek and Hebrew, philosophy of religion, etc. I was very pleased when, after reading the text, he told me, "Wow. This woman really knows her stuff. I can't say I agree with her dismissal of my faith, but I am impressed how well she understands the obscure details of the New Testament. This has made me think."

What better review could an author hope for.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By David Deley on December 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
On those CSI TV shows they're always dusting for fingerprints, trying to figure out "Who was here?" and "What happened?" Their motto is, "Follow the evidence." and "The evidence will tell us." The evidence often contradicts their original assumption, pointing them in a new direction, where they eventually find the truth.

In this book Acharya examines all the evidence regarding Jesus. Every scrap of historical evidence we have, every metaphorical "fingerprint" left behind. Acharya follows the evidence, letting the evidence tell it's story. When we put it all together we get the best possible picture of Jesus and where the story came from.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By John Holland on October 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a book that will lift the veil of secrecy within Christianity then you've found the right book. It's in-depth, organized, sourced, and courtroom convincing. I recommend it to everyone that wants to know the history of the historical Jesus from a secular point of view.
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