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Jesus: Mything in Action, Vol. I (The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book 2)

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About the book: David Fitzgerald’s award-winning 2010 book Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All pointed out the top ten fatal flaws of Christianity’s origin story. Now, Jesus: Mything in Action presents the most compelling new findings in Jesus Myth theory and critically examines its controversial reception by biblical scholars, the extent and r About the book: David Fitzgerald’s award-winning 2010 book Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All pointed out the top ten fatal flaws of Christianity’s origin story. Now, Jesus: Mything in Action presents the most compelling new findings in Jesus Myth theory and critically examines its controversial reception by biblical scholars, the extent and reliability of our sources for Jesus, and reveals the surprising history behind Jesus’ evolution. In this volume: Mything in Action, vol. I (chapters 1 – 12) looks at the myths of Jesus Mythicism: what it is and isn’t; what biblical scholars are saying about it (and why); and examines our oldest “biographical” source for Jesus – the allegorical story we know as the Gospel of Mark.


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About the book: David Fitzgerald’s award-winning 2010 book Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All pointed out the top ten fatal flaws of Christianity’s origin story. Now, Jesus: Mything in Action presents the most compelling new findings in Jesus Myth theory and critically examines its controversial reception by biblical scholars, the extent and r About the book: David Fitzgerald’s award-winning 2010 book Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All pointed out the top ten fatal flaws of Christianity’s origin story. Now, Jesus: Mything in Action presents the most compelling new findings in Jesus Myth theory and critically examines its controversial reception by biblical scholars, the extent and reliability of our sources for Jesus, and reveals the surprising history behind Jesus’ evolution. In this volume: Mything in Action, vol. I (chapters 1 – 12) looks at the myths of Jesus Mythicism: what it is and isn’t; what biblical scholars are saying about it (and why); and examines our oldest “biographical” source for Jesus – the allegorical story we know as the Gospel of Mark.

30 review for Jesus: Mything in Action, Vol. I (The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book 2)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jim Knight

    Like an addict, I keep going back to this topic. I still find it utterly astounding how little evidence there is for the historical Jesus. Shocking I know. If you are happy in your faith or not confident it can withstand scrutiny, don’t read any of David Fitzgerald's books on the subject. Too risky. I lost my faith in the Bible and Yahweh but still assumed there was a religious guy named Jesus walking around in the first century. But then I read David Fitzgerald’s first book on this subject: “Nai Like an addict, I keep going back to this topic. I still find it utterly astounding how little evidence there is for the historical Jesus. Shocking I know. If you are happy in your faith or not confident it can withstand scrutiny, don’t read any of David Fitzgerald's books on the subject. Too risky. I lost my faith in the Bible and Yahweh but still assumed there was a religious guy named Jesus walking around in the first century. But then I read David Fitzgerald’s first book on this subject: “Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All” with skepticism. I read it as a lark, the same way that I watch flat earth videos on youtube now. I expected it to be an atheist kook book. But then it wasn’t. It was so compelling because it rang true and the religious responses seemed so tenuous. Josephus & Tacitus they scream. Hmm… But I digress. I listened to this book on audio and I loved Fitzgerald’s narration. He doesn’t sound like he’s reading. He laughs when it’s appropriate. He’s just an entertaining reader (and writer). These books are very digestible compared to some of the other books in this field. By comparison, I find Richard Carrier’s book compelling but he’s too high brow for me. I have recommended Fitzgerald’s “Nailed” as a good intro to this topic because it is so approachable. This book is meant as a follow-on to “Nailed” so it moves the focus into deeper issues like the Gospel resurrection narratives. The author does a lot of comparative analysis. It’s very interesting. This is the first in a new three part series. Kind of bummed I have to buy three books instead of one but I probably will. Like I wrote above, I’m addicted.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Craig Cowled

    This first volume of David Fitzgerald's "Mything in Action" is quite an eye opener. The author draws on the trail-blazing research of a growing cohort of Jesus scholars along with some of his own original research on the historicity of Jesus. He builds the argument that there never was a real person called Jesus. His argument is rational, solidly supported, and well written. Highly recommended! This first volume of David Fitzgerald's "Mything in Action" is quite an eye opener. The author draws on the trail-blazing research of a growing cohort of Jesus scholars along with some of his own original research on the historicity of Jesus. He builds the argument that there never was a real person called Jesus. His argument is rational, solidly supported, and well written. Highly recommended!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Brilliant exploration of the arguments for understanding the New Testament gospels as non-historical works by anonymous authors. Clearly articulated and compelling evidence provided. Quite a few spelling errors which I hope will be fixed in future additions, but the quality of the argument is what matters. If you're interested in the mythicist perspective then this is a must read. Brilliant exploration of the arguments for understanding the New Testament gospels as non-historical works by anonymous authors. Clearly articulated and compelling evidence provided. Quite a few spelling errors which I hope will be fixed in future additions, but the quality of the argument is what matters. If you're interested in the mythicist perspective then this is a must read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Arielle

    Excellent. Great food for thought. Fitzgerald took much care on writing this book. I went to a prominent mainstream Christian seminary in the 1970's and figured out a lot of this on my own. Of course, Fizgerald says it way better than I ever could. But only lately have writers, journalists, and scholars begun to publicly and seriously propose that Jesus was a mythic person like Thor, or Odin, or Heracles, or any of the other many "gods" and "god born" men and women in ancient mythology. Before t Excellent. Great food for thought. Fitzgerald took much care on writing this book. I went to a prominent mainstream Christian seminary in the 1970's and figured out a lot of this on my own. Of course, Fizgerald says it way better than I ever could. But only lately have writers, journalists, and scholars begun to publicly and seriously propose that Jesus was a mythic person like Thor, or Odin, or Heracles, or any of the other many "gods" and "god born" men and women in ancient mythology. Before that, it was pretty dangerous to say so, even though that is what the evidence clearly pointed to.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was expecting a loose and unoriginal synthesis of the various arguments for mythicism. However, Fitzgerald is much more rigorous than I had expected, and the initial sections of the book detailing the incentives that many mainstream historians have for affirming - even if dubiously - Jesus's historicity, and the many conspicuous disincentives that they have regarding affirming any mythicist arguments (no matter how trivial), were very eye-opening. That many are contractually obligated to tow t I was expecting a loose and unoriginal synthesis of the various arguments for mythicism. However, Fitzgerald is much more rigorous than I had expected, and the initial sections of the book detailing the incentives that many mainstream historians have for affirming - even if dubiously - Jesus's historicity, and the many conspicuous disincentives that they have regarding affirming any mythicist arguments (no matter how trivial), were very eye-opening. That many are contractually obligated to tow the theological line certainly casts doubt on the authenticity of the current consensus. His outline of the many flaws in trying to extract historical truth from the gospel narratives was very accessible and entertaining, and he rightly notes the lack of any valid or consistently applied method for doing so. And his exploration of many allegories and metaphors in the gospel narratives (that further undermine the case that these were valid historical accounts) was fascinating, though I recall finding one or two of the arguments about the presence of particular allegories being a little loose (e.g., regarding the relevance of Simon of Cyrene; though he does cite Richard Carrier, who made a more thorough and readable case regarding the symbolism here in his 'On the Historicity of Jesus'). A finer point to note is that Fitzgerald provides a handy mix of arguments from probability and from possibility. At times, he cites arguments that more plausibly and probably account for the evidence we have (e.g., that early Christians were happy to meddle with the texts and forge evidence to support their own agendas, as evidenced by such things as the currently canonical long endings of Mark [i.e., 16:9-20] and John [i.e., 21:1-25], both of which are widely regarded as early forgeries). And at times, he explores possible accounts of particular pieces of textual evidence that we have, usually citing Robert Price's demonstrations of perculiar parallels between gospel narratives and other ancient narratives (e.g., the possibility that the original Gospel of Mark did not have Jesus die, and that Mark's death and burial narratives took inspiration from certain tropes from Ancient Greek novels about people being presumed dead, prematurely buried, and then accidentally exhumed by would-be grave-robbers). Fitzgerald rightly avoids pressing these possible accounts as somehow probable, but cites them simply to show that there are other plausible explanations of the evidence we have. Even if they are not the most probable, they should at least shake our certainty that the more probable accounts 'must be' true or that they are the only plausible accounts on offer. Fitzgerald also does a good job of demonstrating how many other mythical figures were written into what otherwise seem to be historical texts. That the gospel narratives refer to many real historical locations and people lends virtually no credence to the claim that Jesus himself existed, any more than the fact that the movie Godzilla showed the giant monster being killed on the Brooklyn Bridge supports the historicity of Godzilla. Fitzgerald notes many other ahistorical figures (e.g., Hercules and Moses) whose stories took place in real locations and involved real people, and notes that Jesus being historical would make him quite exceptional, considering the many similarities between his story and the stories of many similar - yet non-existent - people, and given how much of his story is obviously legendary. There are bits and pieces of loose and needless argumentation. For example, while his criticisms of the evidence for the historicity of Nazareth were fair, I think they were incomplete. He cited the work of Rene Salm, but did not address any criticisms of Salm's conclusions, which made his account seem skewed. I was also hoping for a few more paragraphs on the case for/against the Q source, as I felt he was too brief, but there is always Mark Goodacre's 'The Case Against Q' for that. There are also a few cheap jousts at Christianity which are not particularly relevant to the secular debate surrounding the historicity of Jesus, but they are entertaining and probably too hard for anyone to resist. So overall, this was a very impressive book. Certainly good enough to justify investing in Part 2.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    This book convinced me, as a Bart Ehrman fan, of how Bart hadn't taken the evidence far enough and realized that Jesus was a purely mythical figure. The gospel according to Mark is really fascinating to me now, much more so than before, and I appreciate its richness of allegory and harmonizing of various OT texts into a figure that did so many interesting things. Makes me wonder what the Christ of Paul and the first believers really was then, and what writings inspired belief in a resurrected Me This book convinced me, as a Bart Ehrman fan, of how Bart hadn't taken the evidence far enough and realized that Jesus was a purely mythical figure. The gospel according to Mark is really fascinating to me now, much more so than before, and I appreciate its richness of allegory and harmonizing of various OT texts into a figure that did so many interesting things. Makes me wonder what the Christ of Paul and the first believers really was then, and what writings inspired belief in a resurrected Messiah in the first place. Sad we have so little from that time. In any case though, I think this book and its subsequent parts have the strength of logic to convince even the most adamant Christian, if they are willing to look at it seriously. I have many friends and authority I used to trust on the topic of the Bible that have said things most interpreters have known for decades are completely wrong. It is sad how easily humans will cling to the first faith that seems to make sense to them, and how willing entire masses of people are to justify their interpretations by resorting to truly absurd workarounds and allegory and other literary tools of analysis when the truth is staring them in the face. I was often told growing up that the Bible is by its nature simple to understand. Years of not seeing how it is simple at all behind me, I now see indeed that it is simple to understand. As a mythical tale of a human that never even existed in the first place, twisted and warped with time and containing countless incongruities and contradicting views. This is the only view that can make sense, given all the evidence.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Arensb

    Fitzgerald is not a Bible scholar, so take this book with a grain (but only a grain) of salt, the same way you'd read a science book written by someone who's a science popularizer rather than a scientist. Although the view he presents, that Jesus Christ is entirely mythical, is far from mainstream, it seems defensible. For one thing, as he takes pains to explain, entire field of Bible studies tends to attract people who already believe that Jesus is real, and is thus biased in that direction. But Fitzgerald is not a Bible scholar, so take this book with a grain (but only a grain) of salt, the same way you'd read a science book written by someone who's a science popularizer rather than a scientist. Although the view he presents, that Jesus Christ is entirely mythical, is far from mainstream, it seems defensible. For one thing, as he takes pains to explain, entire field of Bible studies tends to attract people who already believe that Jesus is real, and is thus biased in that direction. But if scholars like Bart Ehrman, Richard Carrier, and Robert Price can be believed, and I think they can, solid historical evidence is in very short supply. All in all Fitzgerald does a good job of presenting reasons to think that the gospels have been copied, recopied, edited, and adapted from earlier stories that, once you strip away the myths, exaggerations, and forgeries, there's no real core left.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Brodsky

    For years I never question... This was an eye opening. For years I never question the bible. I never challenge the issues I found. They I read, Nailed. And then I read this book. Now I see just how blindly I followed the teachings never testing it. Blinded by the light and an finally I see. This was no easy road. I was a former bible teacher, pastor, theology teacher and speaker on the cults. Condemning them when I was wrong all along. Thank you.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Scott Holstad

    Excellent book! Packed with stats, historical evidence, and basic common sense to show how absurd it is to think the "gospels" have anything remotely true in them, especially in light of the fact that no one knows who the real authors were, they were written between 35 - nearly 100 years after his death, the authors wrote the books in a totally different language with limited understanding of the language used by Jesus and his followers, and these were obviously educated authors, unlike anyone w Excellent book! Packed with stats, historical evidence, and basic common sense to show how absurd it is to think the "gospels" have anything remotely true in them, especially in light of the fact that no one knows who the real authors were, they were written between 35 - nearly 100 years after his death, the authors wrote the books in a totally different language with limited understanding of the language used by Jesus and his followers, and these were obviously educated authors, unlike anyone with Jesus, and none of the authors were eyewitnesses to anything they wrote about, nor were they likely to even have known ANY eyewitnesses, they often magically explained what various characters were thinking or saying while alone with no witnesses, that these original disciples never wrote anything down recording Jesus's words, let alone he himself, because they were all illiterate so that no one could possibly know what, if anything, Jesus actually said and thus much of it to all of it is likely fiction, and most damning, while there were tons of independent historians alive and writing during the first 2-3 centuries CE, there is not one shred of independent evidence that Jesus of Nazareth ever lived! No one ever wrote of him, mentioned him or his amazing miracles that brought crowds of thousands, per the bible, to follow him, because the only mention of such things is in ... the bible and nowhere else, thus casting massive doubt on any of it. Indeed, there were a ton of messiahs and prophets running around declaring the coming end of the world, and even one named Jesus, all documented, none of him the one found in the bible. The amazing events written about in one of the gospels upon Jesus's death (Matthew?) such as two major earthquakes, the sun doing completely dark for hours, and the dead "saints" in Jerusalem rose out of their graves and proceeded into the city, for the heck of it? Zombie saints??? If such amazing things had actually occurred, there would be both scientific evidence of the earthquakes and the sun disappearing for hours, and likewise, many of the historians would have noted these events along with something as bizarre as jesus-following zombies, yet again, none of these are mentioned by ANY independent sources anywhere during the first one and a half centuries, and thus, these stories are utterly false and total BS. These are just a few examples of the fine work done by Fitzgerald in this book, which I think is more impressive than his previous work. Highly recommended -- especially for skeptics and those questioning the accuracy of the bible...

  10. 5 out of 5

    BethK

    This book offers good evidence that much of the New Testament is based on older writings, of other people, casting more doubt on there ever having been an historical Jesus. Rather, there were a number of actual and mythical people the story was blamed upon. The author gives a great deal of scholarly credence, with evidence, that many of the canonical gospel was forged much later than believed - some even into the third century. Oddly, some of these forgeries contain warnings to look out for forge This book offers good evidence that much of the New Testament is based on older writings, of other people, casting more doubt on there ever having been an historical Jesus. Rather, there were a number of actual and mythical people the story was blamed upon. The author gives a great deal of scholarly credence, with evidence, that many of the canonical gospel was forged much later than believed - some even into the third century. Oddly, some of these forgeries contain warnings to look out for forgeries! A good bit of the New Testament uses the literary device of omniscient narrator - that is a person who knows the secrets when there were no eyewitnesses - such as when Jesus was praying along, the dreams of Joseph, the events that took place in secret meetings. This device is for a fiction plot. Nonfiction does not know about these private thoughts, dreams, or events.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Powers

    A fantastic book. The final nail in the coffin, or cross as it were, pulling apart the gospels and early drafts of Christian scripture to show that there is no viable proof of a historical Jesus. Well worth the effort to find a copy and read it. If you are atheist, agnostic, grew up in the tradition or not, this will make rethink the religion that sits at the center of western culture.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alfred St

    Fascinating This book is one that every free thinking person should read. It's packed with relevant information regarding many biblical events and most certainly puts the life of Jesus in the fictional category. I personally found it difficult to put down. Fascinating This book is one that every free thinking person should read. It's packed with relevant information regarding many biblical events and most certainly puts the life of Jesus in the fictional category. I personally found it difficult to put down.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Pretty good read detailing specific scripture verses and the improbability of the verses. Mr Fitzgerald also ties New Testament verses with Old Testament counterparts to show the blatant plagiarism in the Bible. I would have given him 5 stars if he would have refrained from political snark.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I enjoyed Fitzgerald's previous book "Nailed" and Mything in Action expands on the research presented in that. Vol I dives into the overall reasons why/how the Jesus story appears to be all mythology without a real historical person at the center. I'm looking forward to reading Volumes 2 and 3. I enjoyed Fitzgerald's previous book "Nailed" and Mything in Action expands on the research presented in that. Vol I dives into the overall reasons why/how the Jesus story appears to be all mythology without a real historical person at the center. I'm looking forward to reading Volumes 2 and 3.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Certainly things to consider.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ailith Twinning

    Meh, 6 paragraphs into a response and I got bored trying to hack thru the linguistic minefield of this topic. My thoughts on the matter are irrelevant so let's just blurb the book. Amusing book, give it a listen (go for the audiobook). Also: Mildly annoyed it got split into three books. Meh, 6 paragraphs into a response and I got bored trying to hack thru the linguistic minefield of this topic. My thoughts on the matter are irrelevant so let's just blurb the book. Amusing book, give it a listen (go for the audiobook). Also: Mildly annoyed it got split into three books.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gregory

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emrys

  19. 5 out of 5

    katie sethna

  20. 5 out of 5

    James Thomas

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ron Dinning

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gary

  23. 5 out of 5

    Josh Dylka

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stan Yoder

  25. 5 out of 5

    Logan Horsford

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cody Taylor

  27. 4 out of 5

    Austin James

  28. 4 out of 5

    thomas j geraghty

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mark Threlfall

  30. 4 out of 5

    Federico Manuel Barros

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