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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written and highly recommended regardless of your political line, 19 May 2013
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This review is from: Behind the Myths - the Foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Kindle Edition)
I am surprised that only a few people have reviewed this book so far. I rarely write book reviews (or any other type of review for that matter). However, the effort that John Pickard has to put to shed light on this topic cannot be possible be reflected on the price of the book.

This is an extremely well-researched piece of work that brought to my awareness hypothesis that I had never contemplated before. Most atheists take for granted that the majority of the religious texts are fables in terms of miracles and specific events. However, Pickard's book questions not only the fables themselves, but their authors, the existence of the biographical characters (such as Jesus or Mohammed) and whether historical locations (such as Nazareth and Mecca) were actually geographical locations at the time of writing.

Do not be put off by the "Marxist" approach. As a liberal, I did not find that using dialectical materialism as a research methodology has added any harmful bias to the account. The author concludes the book prompting for "a planned society" as way to curtail the rise of religion in the future. However, other than the conclusion itself, the rest of the book is perfectly readable and does not push the reader toward any specific line of thought.

As one drop of criticism, there is perhaps too much emphasis on social and political intrigue in detriment of non-human factors such as geography and natural events. For instance, most migrations are explained as politically-motivated rather than as the result of a pure material need. For example, droughts, floods, quakes and the prospect of more fertile land are all good reasons why societies migrate rather than just the escape of an oppressive political system. This omission perhaps reflects the "class struggle" viewpoint which deemphasises the constraints of nature itself.
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