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Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition? Hardcover – December 1, 2003
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"This informative and gripping books shows us how the Gospel stories were put together in order to satisfy religious craving." -- Ulster Humanist, April-May 2004
From the Inside Flap
In his introduction, Price defines and defends higher criticism of the Bible, a tool he uses to reconcile history with Scripture. Next, Price presents the sources the Gospel writers used to compose their works, as well as the territory already charted by biblical scholarship. Price's investigation follows a traditional life-of-Jesus outline, starting with Jesus' birth--why is it celebrated on December 25? Was it really a virgin birth?
In chapter 4, Price analyzes Baptist and other Christian beliefs about Jesus and John the Baptist, proposing that the latter's role may not be historical. Price wrestles with the controversial question of miracles, setting the groundwork for judging the authenticity of these stories. Many miracle accounts, Price shows, have parallels in other Jewish and Hellenistic traditions, and each miracle story has a particular structure, which fits a general pattern. Does this mean that historians cannot judge any miracle stories as occurring historically?
After scrutinizing stories of Jesus as a man of the people, Price delves into the descriptions of the twelve disciples, analyzing each one, especially Simon Peter. In this thorough examination, Price draws parallels with other religious traditions. The next two chapters take this comparison a step further in a brief review of Buddhism. Finally, Price surveys the details of the accounts of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, concluding that similarities in Christian and other religious traditions must mean a common origin--one with no room for a historical Jesus.
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SON OF MAN belongs in the tradition of David Friedrich Strauss and Rudolf Bultmann, scrutinizing the Gospels concisely and in astonishing detail. Price takes a consistent, thorough-going critical look at the gospel tradition, discarding faith's mandates and delivering good reasons for every skeptical judgment of the Gospels' historical accuracy in depicting Jesus.
A prequel to Price's DECONSTRUCTING JESUS, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SON OF MAN explains advanced scholarship on the historical Jesus in terms--and with references to popular culture--that any reader can understand.
Top Customer Reviews
For those willing to wade through the obscurities of truly higher biblical criticism, to bear with Price's peculiar mix of scholarly language sprinkled with frequent colloquialisms and to unravel occasional typographical errors, this book will be a revealing and rewarding experience.
What is nice is that he just isn't writing this to debunk and deconstruct. Rather, he helps illuminate much about early Christianity. By sifting through the myth-making, the contradictions, and the plagiarisms, he helps paint a fascinating picture of what the early theological and political struggles of early Christianity must have entailed.
The bottom line is that the story of Jesus is clearly and undoubtedly myth and fiction, and this book is perhaps THE BEST at revealing that. Every pages is loaded with information and evdience. And Price isn't out to prove that Jesus never existed (like Wells or Doherty). He takes a more humble/realistic approach: Jesus may or may have not existed, we';ll never know, but what we do know is that the new testament is clearly fiction/myth. That is beyond a doubt. This book lays it all out.
With scholars like Price, rational, clear-thinking individuals are in good hands. May he continue to produce such erudite, solid, fascintaing, well-articulated and compelling work.
As with Wells, the contrast between Price and Helms is stunning. Price is scholar who isn't afraid to tread new ground and to scoff at traditional scholarship. He even goes so far as to say the Jesus Seminar was "too uncritical." Helms, on the other hand, in his deconstruction of the Gospels, rarely strays far from comparisons that can be found in standard introductory texts like Brown's and good study bibles like the Harper Collins or the Oxford Annotated Bible.
Price begins his book with a discussion of the historical criteria he will use to shred the Gospels into pieces. They are three simple criteria; the criterion of dissimilarity, the principle of analogy, and the principle of biographical analogy. Briefly, the criterion of dissimilarity states that we do not have any reason to accept as authentic any saying that has a parallel with contemporary Judaism or Hellenism. The principle of analogy, as we skeptics all know too well, is basically the old Humean position on miracles. And lastly, but certainly not least (Price will make extensive use of this one), the principle of biographical analogy states that we can't accept anything as authentic when it conforms to standard myths and legends. With a discussion of these criteria and their usage by historians, we move on to the next chapter on sources.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can see that Dr. Price is an intelligent man. However, I think he should be able to see that Jesus was a real person with mythological elements attached to him, not a... Read morePublished 15 days ago by Patricia
Robert Price, politely and respectfully, puts the nail in coffin of the gospel stories about Jesus. He relies on the work of a very large number of other authors -- including:... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lowell Boggs
Author Robert Price makes a valiant case to dismiss Jesus as an historical figure. But the "Jesus as myth" argument really begins to loose steam when you start digging in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dr. Morbius
Trying to reconcile truth and reality with the endless BS that Christianity was and continues to be is not an easy job. Robert M. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jaysonrex
I would sincerely recommend this book to anyone with minor knowledge of the gospels and the historical "Jesus". Dr. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have a lot of respect for this guy. He has that nerd appeal going on if you catch my drift. Not exactly in touch with like- the rest of the world- he steps to the beat of his own... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Thinkinginpictures
Robert M. Price nails it. This book tells us why Jesus is but a myth. It's an indispensable read for those who feel unsure in their beliefs about Jesus. This book will settle it. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Cornelius
Really interesting work. It's one of those books that you have to read with your bible open next to it. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer