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The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus Paperback – January 1, 2005
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"Doherty has written a potential modern classic, which deserves to be widely read and discussed." --Jan Koster, Professor of Linguistics, Groningen University, The Netherlands
"I have never read such scholarship in so easy a style. You have a wonderful way of conveying complex ideas." --Judith Hayes, author of "In God We Trust...But Which God?"
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Top Customer Reviews
Doherty presents a new theory that relies mostly on rationalism. Not because he ignores the empirical evidence we now possess to develop theories on the development of Christianity, but instead because while its relatively easy to deconstruct many New Testament claims; positive evidence to create the historical Jesus and historical Jesus Christ are virtually non-existent, making Doherty's constructive efforts exponentially more difficult than Price's deconstruction attempts.
This is not to say Doherty presents little empirical evidence on the development of his Christ, but instead takes what little empirical evidence we have and puts forth a rational theory heavy on common sense. For example, Doherty spends significant amounts of time reviewing the conflicts discussed in the early epistles and analyzing the approach Paul and the other authors use to make a case for their position in the debate. Many of these debates were repeated later in the gospels, with Jesus providing an example addressing the conflict. The epistles consistently ignore the examples in the gospels of Jesus' position, and instead create their own argument, which of course wouldn't carry the weight if one had an argument by the God they worshipped.Read more ›
The issue of "impartiality" is, for obvious reasons, very important in this case. The author does not try to buttress an inconclusive argument with methods not grounded to reason, but shifts the focus to issues for which conclusive arguments can be developed and constructive inferences can be extracted. He avoids to be combative, insulting or polarized. He does not miss an opportunity to heap praise to Apostle Paul (indeed a remarkable personality) but tries to use the mildest words to describe Mark's unskilled use of language.
The main argument is developed in several stages. The author gives an excellent review of the philosophical movements of the first and second century and builds a virtual map the coordinates of which are the various philosophical ideas. He then helps the reader place the various thinkers of the time on this map. This works amazingly well for Paul whose complex thinking suddenly becomes tractable. Works OK for the other epistle writers. But does not work very well for Mark. So, the very solid exposition of the Jerusalem group (Paul etc) is followed by speculative conjectures regarding the events that took place around the end of the first century (the time Mark was composed).Read more ›
Thanks,Earl, for finally letting me see the truth.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent book. I've read almost all of it, and feel quite secure recommending it. I'm a little suspicious of some of the dismissal of this book as having... Read morePublished 28 days ago by Anne Rice
I consider myself a reasonable person and a former Christian. A year ago I would have never even picked up a book that said Jesus was a myth. Read morePublished 2 months ago by S. Mezger
I have read the book twice as well as a lot of Doherty articles that are at his website. The book is definitely worth reading. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Biblical Reader
The best, clearest and most rational explanation of Christian history.Published 10 months ago by John Alger
Having doubts about your Christian faith? This is a must read!Published 10 months ago by William J. Adamczyk
This is a fascinating and hugely enlightening book which should be read by anyone with even a scintilla of interest in the roots of ChristianityPublished 13 months ago by Robbie Matador
Husband couldn't even finish reading it. Got about 1/4 of the way through, and he usually finishes every book he starts.Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer