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On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt Paperback – June 3, 2014
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Whether you agree with him or not, you have to give him credit for the tremendous effort this book must have taken. It is heavily footnoted and sources are very well documented. Unfortunately the choice to present a comprehensive case that must be *considered as a whole* will lead to a problem that Carrier notes in the book itself. Critics will be taking shots at various targets, and there are a massive number of them in this book, without considering the case as a whole. They will not offer better arguments, they will just hack away at individual trees, while at the same time failing to notice that an impenetrable forest remains standing.
There are some terrific parts to this book and for the most part it is excellent. I've always considered the silence of Paul a powerful argument against a historical Jesus and in the first 20 or so pages of his Epistles chapter, Carrier presents a beautiful and devastatingly powerful argument based upon the silence of Paul. I think it is almost unanswerable. I wish I could take several paragraphs out of that chapter and frame them and hang them on the office walls of various advocates of a historical Jesus to remind them of how incredibly weak their excuses really are.Read more ›
In general, I found Carrier's thesis worth serious consideration. I'm borderline persuaded, though there's a few things I want to do some additional reading on before I give in completely. One thing Dr. Carrier is quite good at is reading scripture without importing extra 'context' that might not be there. I'll give one example: all the times when Paul says that such and such event in the life of Jesus happened 'according to scripture'.Read more ›
Firstly - my paperback version is of generally good physical quality, both in the printing and the binding - and survived a first read and some wide opening for scanning just fine.
The book is well argued and his points are logical and well supported with plenty of foot-notes, and a comprehensive bibliography. It is a companion volume to his work "Proving History" where he argues for using Bayesian probability in the study of history, especially Jesus. This methodology is breath of fresh air in Jesus studies - instead of ad hoc or even apologetic arguments, Carrier has a method that is based on probability and not just possibilities and wishful thinking.
First carrier sets up two mininal Jesus theories to test :
1. At the origin of Christianity, Jesus Christ was thought to be a celestial deity much like any other.
2. Like many other celestial deities, this Jesus 'communicated' with his subjects only through dreams, visions and other forms of divine inspiration (such as prophecy, past and present).
3. Like some other celestial deities, this Jesus was originally believed to have endured an ordeal of incarnation, death, burial and resurrection in a supernatural realm.
4. As for many other celestial deities, an allegorical story of this same Jesus was then composed and told within the sacred community, which placed him on earth, in history, as a divine man, with an earthly family, companions, and enemies, complete with deeds and sayings, and an earthly depiction of his ordeals.
5.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Many will not accept what Richard has researched in this book. But, it does require them to rethink what they previously took for granted. He was more than fair in his evaluation. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michael Jeffery
This is the most fascinating book I have ever read. Having studied a fair amount of theological works, I can appreciate all the contradictions found in the biblical text, as shown... Read morePublished 1 month ago by alex ashanti
This is the most authoritative book I have ever read on the origins of the New Testament. It is written not by a theologist but by a serious historian using rigorous analyses of... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Bill K
This book is worth looking at even if you are not invested or interested in the key question, historicity or otherwise of Jesus. Read morePublished 2 months ago by swimdb