91 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book !!!
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...
Published on December 12, 2007 by L. Ball
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who Was Jesus
Some of this reading I/we found this to be a little misleading from our own Religious/Personal Relationship Practices right from Scripture. Not sure I would recommend this to anyone else as I don't feel this is fact/scriptural based.
Published 2 months ago by Launa J Torres
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91 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book !!!,
This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (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? is not vindictive or condescending in the way the information is presented. Because many of the details may be new to the reader, this is a book every Bible student should have in their personal library.
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look behind the thinly disguised myths of Christianity,
This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (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!
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Examines all the metaphorical "fingerprints" left behind,
This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (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.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific!,
This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (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.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent,
This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (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.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of the Christ (book review),
This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (Paperback)D. M. Murdock, aka Acharya S., has done it again with her new book called Who Was Jesus? The Fingerprints of the Christ. This time she did what I always believed could be done and that is we can take the Bible and show how it is a work of fiction. She does this by using various Christian authorities, apologists, and evangelicals, such as Bart Ehrman and John Dominic Crossan. She shows various misinterpretations from Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, as well as, how the stories were made from blueprints of other stories and the contradictions of the Bible.
The book starts out as a very easy read for novices and momentum builds as she goes into a deeper understanding of how the stories cannot be taken as the literal inerrant word of God, inspired by God, but rather errant and inspired by humans. She starts each chapter with quotes by well-known scholars, appreciated by most Christians, and works from there showing how their statements convey the stories as fables and no more historical value or truth than John Jakes's North and South or Aesop's Fables.
As Acharya, goes through Gospels she relates the story of Jesus to previous stories in the Old Testament and shows how those stories are templates for the New Testament stories. She also shows how the Gospels not only contradict each other, but also do not have the same stories or even tell them same way, thus showing they are not actual eyewitness accounts, but rather various midrashes and rewrites of other stories. Finally, she shows the relationship between other dying and rising gods of previous stories, such as the Egyptian gods Osiris and Horus. She also uses other sources outside the Bible that point to forgeries and interpolations, by using scholars who have studied Pliny, Flavius, and others, and found in them statements that the founders of Christianity manipulated to impose the religion on the masses and make it look historical, when in fact it was not.
Finally, her knowledge of ancient languages appears as she explains various words or even sentences that were translated inaccurately. In fact, some ancient manuscripts do not have some verses and ancient church fathers showed no knowledge of these verses or are total mistranslations. In some cases, Acharya gives a translation of some verses or statements originally in Greek or Latin, by showing both the original and the translation. Other times she shows us the mistranslated word or words and tells us the actual word in the ancient documents.
Acharya has done a fascinating job on her latest book as she explains all the fallacies, misconceptions, and errors concerning the story of Jesus. This book shows she has put in many hours of research to assist in the many questions and inquiries concerning the contradictions, similarities to past stories, and actual or rather not actual historicity of the Bible. In the end, the logical conclusion is, in Robert Price's words, there never was an actual historical Jesus or if there ever was, he is too buried in myth to ever find him.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Religion's biggest enemy.,
This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (Paperback)I read once that `History and Education is religion's biggest enemy'. This book, `Who was Jesus? Fingerprints of the Christ' is both historical and educational and a treasure for the inquisitive. If you do not subscribe to blind faith then I would recommend this book. Actually, if you have a parochial education you should read this book! A prominent atheist stated that adherence to a Holy Book only curtails ones sense of wonder and `Who was Jesus?' makes you wonder.
I was once a Christian, but I ate the fruit from the tree and found it delightful and D.M. Murdock's work is a delight.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for believers and nonbelievers,
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This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (Paperback)Who Was Jesus: Fingerprints of the Christ is a scholarly work of textual and historical criticism that is extremely well written. The author does not overstate her case and does not make assertions that are not fully supported by clearly explained arguments.
She takes the four gospels of the New Testament as her primary focus of the first section of the book, taking each gospel in turn and then comparing them to show how they agree and disagree. She shows a great amount of authority and does in fact cite the opinions of evangelical scholars as well as secular scholars. Her thesis for this is that the texts are not consistent and coherent but she never takes this claim further than her textual evidence allows.
The examination of the historicity of Jesus and a summary of the contemporary Roman histories was also quite thorough. The exhaustive thoroughness of every part of this book and the rigor of her rhetorical style--always precise, exact, and never accusatory--make the text all that much stronger.
For all Christians who believe that the Bible is an entirely consistant, perfect and divinely inspired book, or that we have perfect transmissions and good translations, they must read this book. The author stays very close to the Bible itself, going line by line through the gospels and bring to bear significant amounts of research, but in later sections of the book she examines the history of the creation of the Bible and the formation of what we know of Jesus through the survivine manuscripts (and those that did not survive).
I recommend this book to believers and nonbelievers alike. This is the critical look at the Bible that all Christians need to take. Without a book such as this, they do not understand their own religion and its text. I have read and reread sectons of this book several times and have also used it as a jumping off point for further research. Even if you hold views contrary to the author's, you annot deny that she has written a scholarly, well crafted and persuasive investigation of the gospels and the story of Jesus.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Does the Bible Really Say About Jesus?,
This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (Paperback)Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of the Christ just might be the best short introduction to Biblical scholarship yet. If you have ever entertained questions about the Jesus story as told in the gospels, the first four books of the New Testament, but were at a loss as to how to research and answer those questions, Who Was Jesus? by D.M. Murdock is the book for you.
For some people, the Bible, and every word in it, represents the infallible, immutable Word of God. According to them, that Word tells us Jesus was God himself, here on earth in the flesh, on a mission to redeem his own fallen, sinful creation, man. Further, redemption required that Christ/God be killed, made a blood sacrifice to save man from eternal hellfire. If it's all infallibly true, how could it be that the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) tell different and contradictory stories about the birth and life of Jesus, about what he said and did, and about his resurrection? As Ms. Murdock clearly shows, the answer to this and many similar questions is that the New Testament was the product of a large number of writers and copyists who modified existing scriptures, religious ideas and stories to accord with Old Testament prophecy about a future messiah. All of this story-creation and modifying took place in the first four centuries of the common era, within the political context of the declining Roman Empire, a situation causing a culling process that ultimately selected the books that became the Bible from a much larger field of Christ stories. The Bible is the end product of centuries of tinkering by people who had political axes to grind--a fact explaining a great deal and neatly demonstrated in this gem of a book.
Today, views about Christ fall into three basic categories: First and foremost, many believe the Bible to be infallible, the word of God, telling us that Jesus was God himself, incarnated as God's son on earth, born of a virgin, who performed miracles, was crucified, dead for three days then came back to life and returned to heaven. The second view is that Jesus was not divine, but was a prophet, a fabulous man who taught morality through parables, and gathered a great following. According to this view he may or may not have been crucified, but his followers went on to build a religion and a church based on his teachings. The basis for this belief is, typically, that millions of people have believed in him for 2,000 years so he must have existed. But being the son of God, the miracles, death and resurrection--that's just a bit much for anyone with a healthy stripe of skepticism. The third view is that the Jesus story is pure myth. It is extrapolated from and built upon the many "son of God, born of virgin, savior messiah" myths that existed in the civilized world 2,000 to 5,000 years ago. The storyline was familiar to the early converts, making it easy for church leaders to sell them on it. But it was only a myth, with no historical record to support it.
Now, which one of these hypotheses is best supported by the relevant evidence? Who should have the burden of proof? Should it be those who contend that Jesus was the son of God and that the Bible stories are true, or the skeptics who contend that these stories don't stand to reason? These are the key investigations "forensically" undertaken in Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ--and what differentiate this book from the rest of the "historical Jesus" efforts. In her analysis, Ms. Murdock--aka "Acharya S"--readily demonstrates the many internal problems of the New Testament, including anachronisms, contradictions and the utter lack of a historical record. In this endeavor, the author brings to light some surprising data, including the fact that the four canonical gospels as we have them do not appear clearly in the historical record until late into the second century. This contention is sure to cause controversy, as, although it is well supported by the evidence, it goes squarely against current mainstream scholarship. Murdock also shows that there is no scientific evidence for the events related in the gospel story--or even for the existence of Jesus Christ himself--and she reveals numerous precedents found in the Old Testament that appear to have been reworked to produce the story in the New. In the end, Who Was Jesus? asks, even if there was a "historical Jesus," can we truly find him to be the exemplar of morality that has contributed to the betterment of life on Earth? Or has this belief caused an unending amount of grief and destruction that could lead us into the "End Times" so widely touted by fervent believers?
Who Was Jesus? by D.M. Murdock is a "must read" for anyone who has ever wondered about the origins of the Jesus tale, whether or not it stands up to critical scrutiny, and whether it really is the "greatest story ever told."
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Case Against Christ,
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This review is from: Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (Paperback)Christian scholars have made careers being apologists for the Christian faith. This book reveals that they may in fact own their readers an apology.
I think the title may mislead some. The book isn't about discovering who the real Jesus was, and it certainly has nothing to do with the Templar Knights or whether or not Jesus was married. It's a critical analysis of the gosples, and the dogmatic belief held by many christians that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, which was written by eye witnesses.
The author, who is fluent in Ancient Greek herself, and an expert in ancient mythology, draws from the research of several biblical scholars, including Christian sources.
For being such a short, easy to read book, she does an incredible job and laying out both sides of the argument. I came away with a better understanding of exactly what source materials biblical scholars actually have to go on, and the methods by which they've approximated their dates.
No one will miss the point that Murdock doesn't believe the gospel accounts are history, but it's not presented in a rash or deliberately abrasive manner.
Though this book is a great resource for those who may choose to engage a fundamentalist christian in a debate, I believe her target audience for this book was actually Christians. She avoids for example, attacking Christianity on the grounds that it proposes donkeys can talk, people can fly up into outer space, and that loving God will fry you for eternity for not believing he committed a human sacrifice to himself. But rather, she pose questions like, if zombies really rose from the dead and walked around town, why didn't anyone record it? If King Herod knew the precise location of the infant Jesus, why did he need to have every young male in Bethlehem killed? Why does Jesus suggest that men castrate themselves?
If you have a christian friend of family member who tries to pressure you from time to time to convert to their faith, ask them to read this book in exchange for going to church with them a few times.
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Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ by Acharya S (Paperback - November 28, 2007)
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