- Paperback: 456 pages
- Publisher: Lulu.com (February 10, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0557044642
- ISBN-13: 978-0557044641
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Not the Impossible Faith
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Top Customer Reviews
But I was pleasantly surprised. This book is a careful and scholarly consideration of the question of whether the historical truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is at all necessary to explain the growth and ultimate success of Christianity.
Carrier takes his lead from points of Holding's argument by heading each chapter with a question raised (e.g., "Was Resurrection Deemed Impossible?" "Did No One Trust Women?"). In the course of responding to these questions we get an erudite examination of many lines of evidence of relevance. Carrier weighs in on the historical reliability of the Gospels, comparing them with the methods of critical historians of antiquity. He considers with considerable care the likely demographics of Christians in the first century. He reveals the prevalence of resurrection stories in ancient times, both within Judaism and within the wider Greco-Roman world.
It is regrettable that such scholarship was not published by a more prestigious publisher. It is understandable of course since any of the major publishers would have the same doubts as I did originally. But the scholarship of this volume deserves a wider readership. I hope it might achieve it, and I would wish that Carrier's future projects in this vein would be published more prominently.
In any event, Carrier makes short work of him. If this had been a boxing match the referee would have stopped it. Holding seems heavily overmatched here, so much so I began to suspect that perhaps Carrier was not being fair. Could Carrier be setting up so many strawmen and just knocking them over? A little research showed that if anything Carrier was being generous.
Despite the rather onesidedness the book is still worthwhile. Carrier is a capable writer and researcher and the picture that emerges of the first century Roman Empire and Christianity is fascinating. Carrier also confines himself to mainstream scholarship but points out that if alternative theories prove out Holdings case is not thereby improved.
The Kindle edition is quite good with one glaring shortcoming - the table of contents is not linked. The numerous footnotes are linked (fortunately). The other problems are the minor ones that seem to plague all ebooks like hyphens that shouldn't be there and the like.
All in all, a very informative and interesting read which I can recommend without hesitation.
Stregthwise, I learned a lot about the early period during which Christianity was being defined and marketed. The oveall context shed a lot of light on history and historical context that I had not previously known.
Weakness wise, there are two main points. First, the book is written as a rebuttal to another book. (Since I read this on my Kindle, I cannot easily retrieve the name and author of the other book.) At times this can lead to double negative logic that requires careful study to follow. For example, if the original book argued that something wasn't true, Carrier may be arguing that it wasn't true that the (negative point) was not true.
Secondly, this book reads like the sort of "blowing off steam" that I occasionally write. Written in a huff at a single sitting after stewing on a topic for a while, which topic is always in reaction to someone else taking a position with which I disagree. Hopefully I never send such tirades to anyone else. Carrier's writing sounds like it was written in just that way and was never edited. It is highly repetitive and redundant. It would be much more effective, with no loss of information or authority, at half the size.
Still, there are some worthwhile nuggets and I had no difficulty sticking with the book to the end. I do wish I had read it in hard copy rather than Kindle so that I could easily go back and find the nuggets. That is just too hard to do on the Kindle even with notes.
So my 3 stars is a combination of four stars for information content and one star for writing style.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best explanations I've read on how and why Christianity was adapted by the 1st century culture and then spread. Air tight arguments laid out.Published 19 days ago by Adam Legler
Although Richard Carrier directs his book toward one particular apologetic, it does a good job of describing in detail why many Christian misperceptions of the ancient world are... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jeffrey G. Hankins Jr.
Once again Richard Carrier, fast becoming my favorite biblical scholar, makes sense and reason triumph over superstition and illogical arguments. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Rick Theis
Basically a direct, point-by-point rebuttal of The Impossible Faith, so if you haven't read that, you'll probably often get a little lost, as i did. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Derek Jensen
Very good information. However he to writes to the already convinced, rather than the faithful masses.Published 16 months ago by Luar
so much information at your fingertips. a great takedown of J.P. Moreland, and an insight into the ancient world at the same time. It's win-win.Published 22 months ago by Patrick Murphy
This is an important book for anyone interested in the origins of Christianity. Carrier makes sound arguments for how and why the Jesus movement developed into what it became and... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Book and Music Lover
I've put off reviewing this book simply because of doubt that I can do it justice--it's that good. The real beauty of this book is not necessarily what Richard has to say as it is... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Bill Hilly
A common argument for the truth of the Christian religion is that its origins were too improbable to be false, therefore it must be true and be divine. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Alexander W.I. Routh