Why would anyone think Jesus never existed? Isn't it perfectly reasonable to accept that he was a real first century figure? As it turns out: No.
Nailed sheds light on 10 beloved Christian myths, and, with evidence gathered from historians across the theological spectrum, shows how they point to a Jesus Christ created solely through allegorical alchemy of hope and imagination; a messiah transformed from a purely literary, theological construct into the familiar figure of Jesus - in short, a purely mythic Christ.
©2010 David Fitzgerald (P)2013 Dogma Debate, LLC
The title doesn't quite deliver on its promise. A more accurate title would have been: Reasons the Jesus of the Gospels Never Existed.
David Fitzgerald shows quite compellingly the events of the gospels couldn't have happened as written. First, many reliable historians wrote about events in Judea during the early 1st century, including some with a special interest in religious movements. They documented the existence of other faith healers and so-called Jewish messiahs, but none makes any mention of Jesus, who was supposedly famous and had throngs of people listening to his teachings and witnessing his miracles.
Second, the gospels as written have historical problems. The trial of Jesus could not have taken place as described, for it contradicts known Jewish legal practice. The Sea of Galilee does not exist. Mark alone made many mistakes about Judean geography and custom, which Matthew corrected in his gospel.
Fitzgerald also documents the surprising lack of biographical details about Jesus in the epistles of Paul, the earliest written sections of the New Testament. It's as if Paul were writing about a purely spiritual figure, not an historical one. Fitzgerald also notes the allegorical style of the Gospel of Mark, the earliest account of Jesus on which all the others are based. He shows the gospel writers weren't composing biographies or writing down eyewitness testimony. They each wrote for different audiences with different portrayals of Jesus.
The author presents enough material to make listeners at least consider the possibility that Jesus the man never existed. However, I don't think he constructs an open-and-shut case, as the title promises. The book actually works best as a primer on New Testament scholarship. It would serve as eye-opening reading for any Christian who still believes the gospels were written by eyewitnesses, or that historical research confirms them.
Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction addict.
Even though I have been an atheist for as long as I can remember, I always assumed that a guy named Jesus existed around 0-30 AD in Judea. Of course I never believed that he was resurrected three days after his crucifixion or that he could perform miracles that contradicted the laws of nature. These are clearly just stories made up by those who wished to glorify Jesus. Still, I assumed that there was an actual person to begin with.
David Fitzgerald, through this this relatively short book, changed my mind. It covers an awful lot of material showing the reader that none of the arguments that Christians use to convince others that Jesus was a real person holds up to scrutiny. For example, not a single alleged eyewitness testimony of Jesus was written by an actual confirmed eyewitness. The, gospels were written long after Jesus died, perhaps by as much as a 100 years. Moreover, the writings about Jesus contradict each other, not just on minor details such as what day Jesus died or whether there was or was not a rock in front of his tomb after his resurrection, but also what type of character he was. Was he a humble drawn back son of a carpenter who tried to stay out of the limelight or did he walk around proclaiming to all that he was the son of God?
In addition, Fitzgerald gives many examples of things in the new testament that directly contradicts other more reliable and unbiased sources from the same time. For instance there were several trusted historians writing about events in Judea at the time of Jesus but none of them even mentions him even though according to the new testament he caused quite an uproar. Indeed, of the four gospels only Luke actually claims to be writing history. Astronomers also strangely failed to notice the three days of darkness that texts in the new testament claim happened.
For being such a short book, it is very forceful. I doubt that any readers who believe in Jesus will walk away from this book unaffected.
When commuting to and from work about 2 hours daily, and while doing the more basic functions of my job, a good audiobook provides the pace.
This well-written informative work uses the sources Christians accept to invalidate the sources Christians accept. I want everyone who was ever in the church to listen to this, with their logic glasses on.
What day was the Jesus crucified? The writer that made it into the modern biblical canon can't agree. Also why didn't anyone else see a mob of Jewish zombies?
A a novice on the CM theory, I found this book very accessible. He gets right to the point in layperson language. Definitely a good starting point. I have previously enjoyed books by Richard Carrier and Robert Price on the same topic but found much of the material sailing over my head without slow and careful reading and rereading.
Looking forward to his upcoming book "Jesus: Mything in Action" as well!
Loved this. Easy listen, quick, succint, to the point. Lays out the case simply in a matter of fact way.
The author needs to understand his own limitations.
His speech is often muddled and garbled and he occasionally mispronounces and even MISREADS his own words!
Also, the editing and sound quality is terrible.
Cleared lot of misconceptions. Also got an idea of myth making and early signs of appropriation which Christian religion is famous for. Look forward to other books. It must be read by all believers and non-believers alike.
",excellent narration, debatable theory."
Maybe, depends on whether they are interested in religion, and in debating what a controversial theory, that at times verges on the conspiracy ideas of holy blood.
his narration was excellent, but many of his points seem to be addressing the miraculous Jesus of the religion, not whether there was a historical Jesus.
Yes, to address issues, and respond to criticisms.
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