32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Thorough and convincing,
This review is from: The Christ Myth (Westminster College-Oxford Classics in the Study of Religion) (Hardcover)
I was very satisfied with the quality of this work. Probably not a coincidence that Oxford University calls it a "Classic".
The author systematically demolishes every aspect of the Jesus Christ story, convincingly arguing that Jesus Christ was a mythical figure who never actually existed, and the Jesus cult is an updating and re-telling of myths that existed in all of what we now call middle-eastern societies 3,000 years ago.
He relates that all of the cultures in the area had this mythology: son of God born to a virgin, suffering, dying and being resurrected. The Babylonians, Attics, Greeks, Egyptians, Essenes, Persians, Indians, and even Jews with their story of Joshua. In every one, the name of the mother of the son was a variation of "Mary". In the Vedic Indian cult, the son's name was Jesudu.
We learn that all of these myths were related to the cycle of the changing length of the days and intensity of the sun during the year; and that Paul rehashed existing sun-worship myths into story of a person he never met named Jesus who was the Messiah who had been born to a young woman named Mary, lived, died, came back to life then levitated up into the sky someplace... and as this had conveniently happened in the past, there was no need to wait for the Messiah any more, we could start worshipping right away.
Drews also shows how the stories in the canonical New Testament are a collection of traditional folk tales from Jesus cults that were mostly oral then written down mostly in the second century after Paul.
He also explains how the story of the cross is wrong - people were hung from poles at the time, not nailed to crosses.... the cross is a stylized representation of the two sticks used to create fire in the sun worship rituals. Normally, a lamb was shown at the center of the cross as this was the symbol of the simultaneous death of the winter and birth of the summer. It wasn't until 600 years after Paul that the Church required a figure of a man representing Jesus at the center of the cross instead of a lamb.
Though a bit turgid, being translated from German, and a bit of heavy slogging in places, the book finishes on a strong note.
If you believe the Jesus story, you will not be pleased with this book.
If you doubt the Jesus story and are looking for some well-researched analysis of the historicity and veracity of the story, this book will be of great interest.