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Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?
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Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition? [Kindle Edition]

Robert M. Price
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

"This book should be mandatory reading for all scholars concerned with Christian origins ... nothing of comparable importance has been written for at least a decade." - Freethinker
For more than a century scholars have been examining the Gospels and other traditions about the life of Jesus to determine their historical accuracy. Although the results of these scholarly efforts are sometimes controversial, the consensus among researchers today is that the four Evangelists’ accounts cannot be taken at face value. In fact, a team of more than 100 scholars called the Jesus Seminar has come to the conclusion that on average only about 18 percent of the four Gospels is historically accurate.
An active member of the Jesus Seminar, Dr. Robert M. Price presents the fruits of this important historical research in this fascinating discussion of early Christianity. As the title suggests, Price is none too optimistic about the reliability of the Gospel tradition as a source of accurate historical information about the life of Jesus. Indeed, he feels that his colleagues in the Jesus Seminar are much too optimistic in their estimate of authentic material in the Gospels. After an introduction to the historical-critical method for nonspecialists and a critique of the methods used by the Jesus Seminar, Price systematically discusses the narrative and teaching materials in the Gospel, clearly presenting what is known and not known about all of the major episodes of Jesus’ life. He also examines the parables for authenticity as well as Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God, repentance, prayer, possessions and poverty, the Atonement, and many other features of the Gospels.
Written for the general reading public in a lively and accessible style, Dr. Price’s highly informative discussion will be of interest to anyone who has wondered about the origins of Christianity.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4286 KB
  • Print Length: 389 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (30 Nov 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #255,361 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate writing and thinking 25 Oct 2007
By calmly
Very readable. Filled with information. Lots of details. Lots of speculation on the individual details. The title may seem flip but the contents aren't at all.

Price stands out: he seems to be in the top 1% of thinkers and writers. He seems open-minded, going carefully thru a lot of information, following thru on various hypotheses rather than just following those he might be attached to. He reserves concluding until the conclusion, first gathering over 300 pages of input. Even then, the book's conclusion is only 6 pages long: nothing heavy-handed, seemingly just another hypothesis to consider. But after all the details of the main text, that final hypothesis pulls the book together tightly and brings full weight to the inquiry Price has been sharing with you.

Price seems not to claim things he can't claim. He doesn't play the authoritative expert. But in his openness and thoroughness, he delivers not just a powerful conclusion but a powerful process. Here's a model that other scholars (more apt to make hasty claims based on their "superiority") would do well to follow. Finish this book and you won't have been sold an answer, but rather stimulated to seek out more yourself about Jesus and the New Testament.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gospels As Literary Creations. 10 Feb 2012
Robert M. Price is a noted biblical scholar and a member (or former member)of the Jesus Seminar, a radical group of more than 100 scholars who concluded that only about 18% of the Gospels is historically correct. However, Price believes his colleagues in the Seminar are much too confident and uncritical about the reliability of the Gospel tradition as a source of accurate historical information about the life of Jesus. Indeed, he feels that even their 18%, when rigourously examined, is doubtful and unreliable as straightforward history. So this is not another search for the historical Jesus, where certain texts are assumed authentic and others ignored or explained away in order to conform to one's particular creation of Jesus. Price is far too sensible for that wild goose chase.

In 'Deconstructing Jesus' (Prometheus Books) Price wrote of the futility of such a task. He reasons that the various scholarly reconstructions of Jesus are not the historical facts as their authors repeatedly claim. How can they be factually accurate when the Gospel sources themselves are theology from start to finish. Whether the authors are believers or sceptics, 'every life of Jesus book is that scholar's own Gospel.' All are custom fitted to each scholar's own predilections and priorities. And, of course, they all cancel each other out. Each sounds good until you hear the next one.

Price makes it crystal-clear in this superb work that the Gospels are profoundly theological or imaginative creations throughout. They should not be read and understood as simply historical reminiscences as is traditionally accepted. And I agree! He juxtaposes Mark, Matthew, Luke and John's accounts to determine their historical accuracy and finds them wanting and for good reasons.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent analysis of the gospel tradition 24 May 2011
By jnoshea
This is an excellent book. It goes through many different aspects and assumptions about Jesus and looks for evidence firstly in the gospels and often through extra-biblical sources. Robert Price starts out by defining the historical method and his criteria for determining whether something is likely to be historical fact or myth. He then dismantles many of the best known stories about Jesus in the gospels. The final - very short - chapter puts the final nail in the cross as it were, and ties everything up very nicely. What makes this book quite hard work to read is that you really have to have a copy of the bible with you whilst reading it, because although he does quote a great many passages in the book, he simply cites many others and you will have to look them up for yourself. I understand why he's done this, as it would take up far too much room, but you should be aware that you will feel the need to check his facts at various points, and this takes time. It's still a brilliant book though.
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By A.
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is another superb detailed analysis of the many possibilities about the New Testament.
I was especially interested in the idea in the first chapter " In his inspired work on the attribution of sayings in the Mishnah, Jacob Neusner has shown how name-citations, ascriptions to this or that famous name must be understood not as evidence for what those actually said or wrote but rather according to the name-citation's polemical significance in the document under consideration. "
There is a possibility that the gospels weren't written until the third century.
Robert M. Price also notes John 8v57 where the Jewish leaders say to Jesus, " You are not yet fifty years old " which would be a strange thing to say to a man of only 30 years old according to Luke 3v23.
Yes there are alot of highly amusin incites in this wonderful book
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6 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The destructive side of biblical criticism 4 Mar 2009
I understand that the author was formerly a 'believer' and then lost his faith. I think this shows in some of the tone of this book, perhaps difficult to describe, but perhaps in a rather tired predisposition to be cynical. If it was the rather brittle North American evangelical belief rather than religious experience then I can understand how this can happen; swapping one intellectual understanding for another. With documents of this age then it is difficult to establish firm 'truth' and for the author to end up with no historical Jesus and no 'real' account of his teaching. Yet the author never seems to ask why anyone bothered to write these gospels in the first place. Unlike others I found his style wearisome. His constant references beg an awful lot from the reader; he keeps saying things like 'as X has shown Matthew was....' and it is then up to you to then go and buy X's book and decide whether you agree with that particular argument; if you follow this line then you will end up buying a great many books and I suspect most people will just accept the author's arguments without checking. Elsewhere on the web I have witnessed the author refusing to enter debate since others had not read particular books! I also found that the book gives many 'unmotivated' comparisons; just because a piece of writing is similar to other writings of its time does not mean they are both similarly motivated. Such that a piece of gospel is similar to a piece of a contemporary myth does not make them both myths; it rather shows were the author found a way to write; it does not demonstrate that the writers set out to copy or lie. As another has said, this might be a book to examine if you are interested in biblical criticism although it does take an extreme position. Read more ›
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