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Paperback Apocalypse: How the Christian Church Was Left Behind Paperback – September 30, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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$18.99 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"With the scalpel of a trained biblical scholar, and the inside knowledge of a former fundamentalist preacher, Dr. Price is fully equipped to issue this relentless exposé of how the Left Behind series, among other Christian musings on the apocalypse, actually represent attempts to hide one of the greatest prophetic failures in history." -- Hector Avalos,author of The End of Biblical Studies

About the Author

Robert M. Price (Selma, NC), professor of scriptural studies at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary, is the editor (with Jeffery Jay Lowder) of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave and the Journal of Higher Criticism. He is also the author of Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today’s Pop Mysticisms; The Paperback Apocalypse: How the Christian Church Was Left Behind; The Reason-Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? and many other works.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (December 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591025834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591025832
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,374,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Knickelbine on December 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oh what fun it is to read Robert M. Price skewer modern apocalypticism in general and fundamentalist pretribulationism in particular, with his rapier-like wit and his daunting scholarship. Not content to point out the biblical errors and theological absurdities in the Left Behind Series, Price takes us on a guided tour of the whole notion of the End-Times, from the first stirrings of biblical apocalyptic to its appropriation by 19th century fundamentalists who invented the idea of the Rapture. Along the way we get a perceptive and funny review of every significant novel in the apocalyptic genre. Price closes with his own, side-splitting contribution to the genre, a "lost" final chapter of the Left Behind series, in which Rayford Steele and the rest of the Trib Force begin to suspect that the Millennium isn't all it's cracked up to be. A wonderful, enjoyable read.Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Left Behind #1)
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This book won't be read by the people who need to read it. It will be read by those who really don't need to read it. Price is mostly preaching to the choir. Having said that, this is entertaining reading. Price has an axe to gring with the Christian faith and he does that with great effect here. I wish he had been a little more objective. But it wouldn't have been nearly so much fun to read if that were the case. Price uses reverse apologetics in trying to prove the negative. As a Christian, I readliy admit the Bible has its problems and Price is very effective at homing in on those problems and exploring them in great detail. I find his writing challenging, informative and entertaining all at the same time. What more could you ask from an author? I even learned a new word! Verisimilitude seems to be a favortie of Mr. Price. Get used to it. You will see it a lot here. I highly recommend this book to every reader. It will encourage the non believer, challenge and inform the open minded believer, and infuriate fundamentalists.
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Format: Paperback
There are few more arrogant statements out there than the one I've seen on a few bumper stickers: "In case of Rapture, this car will be empty." Even assuming you are an ardent Christian who believes in an upcoming End Time, it is the height of pride to assume that you know exactly what God is thinking when he passes judgment. And, as Robert Price argues in The Paperback Apocalypse, chances are if you believe that the Bible (in particular, Revelation) promises a soon-to-come end of the world, you're going to be disappointed.

The motivation for Price's book are the popular Left Behind books by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, which Price demonstrates have more than a few problems from a Biblical interpretation standpoint. First, however, he provides a history of the Apocalypse and shows how Biblical chapters and verses have been misread (often intentionally) to promote the idea that the End is Coming. Hence, history is filled with people promising a Judgment Day at a certain time, only to have that day pass without even minimal fireworks.

Price deals with related concepts (such as the Second Coming) and shows the flaws in literal readings about them. He then discusses various apocalyptic novels: first, early ones which are generally more interested in preaching than storytelling, then later ones written by more adept authors. He also discusses mainstream novels such as Stephen King's The Stand that use apocalyptic ideas.

Finally, he gets to the where The Paperback Apocalypse is really leading: a dissection of the Left Behind books. Actually, it's more of a tearing apart. La Haye (the idea man for the books) is particularly criticized, and justifiably so.
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Format: Paperback
However, this book, as others have already written here, will not be read by those who need to read it - the millions who have already bought ( and actually read!) the Left Behind books and have bought the whole story, hook, line and sinker. And unfortunately it has fueled an entire political movement, featuring a whole bunch of people in the military up to and including the guys whose fingers are poised above the buttons that will launch the nuclear Armageddon these End Times freaks are so excited about. Price may be "right" about the BS of all this in the Bible, but the ones who are wrong don't care, far outnumber us, and they have the WMDs. I can take no comfort in my enjoyment of this book - unless it somehow gets read by those Christian Whackjobs. But we know their motto already - Why let the Truth interfere with a good story? And that's the problem: they actually believe their little story is Reality. And where does confusing Story with Reality take us? Every mass murder in the name of God, for starters.
One positive thing to note on this date: Americans overwhelmingly did NOT buy the End Times rhetoric of one Sarah Palin! Thank God she's been sent back to Alaska and not to Washington DC. There is hope, after all...
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Price takes a look at biblical prophecy and the fiction writing it has inspired. He first looks at the biblical theology, and then offers a critique of just about every fictional book of this genre that has ever been written.

Price finds the basis for Jewish apocalypse in the monarchies and creation myths of the Middle-East. When the Jews returned from Babylonian exile they brought these myths with them. Tiamat the sea monster (tohu, Leviathan), and Behemoth (bohu) the earth monster translates to "without form and void," in the Genesis account. They were also influenced by Zoroastrianism. The inspiration for the Jewish apocalyptic writings was the scribe's resentment of the ruling class, and their hope for better times. It was the jealousies and hatreds of ancient minds that were the basis for the biblical text, not the inspiration of God as the Bible teaches (2 Tim 3:11, 2 Pet 1:21).

The idea that the OT predicts Jesus as the Messiah is because the NT authors quote the OT out of context. The tendency of the reformers to break with traditional appeals to the OT leaves Christians unable to prove that they were right and the Jews were wrong. Prophesying Jesus wasn't the original intent of the OT writers. Ancient and medieval apologists only imagined "deeper" levels of meaning. Modern hermeneutics rule out that the NT might explain the OT. The authors had to be speaking about their time and situation. First Price says the NT authors took the OT scriptures out of context. Later he says the ancient Jewish interpreters took the scriptures out of context. Isn't it strange that the authors of the Bible wrote so that they could be understood by using modern hermeneutics, but then they totally disregarded those methods when they interpreted the scriptures?
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