On the Historicity of Jesus

  • by Richard Carrier
  • Narrated by Richard Carrier
  • 28 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The assumption that Jesus existed as a historical person has occasionally been questioned in the course of the last hundred years or so, but any doubts that have been raised have usually been put to rest in favor of imagining a blend of the historical, the mythical, and the theological in the surviving records of Jesus. Historian and philosopher Richard Carrier reexamines the whole question and finds compelling reasons to suspect the more daring assumption is correct. He lays out extensive research on the evidence for Jesus and the origins of Christianity and poses the key questions that must now be answered if the historicity of Jesus is to survive as a dominant paradigm. Carrier contrasts the most credible reconstruction of a historical Jesus with the most credible theory of Christian origins if a historical Jesus did not exist. Such a theory posits that the Jesus figure was originally conceived of as a celestial being known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture; then stories placing this being in earthly history were crafted to communicate allegorically the claims of the gospel. Such stories eventually came to be believed or promoted in the struggle for control of the Christian churches that survived the tribulations of the first century. Carrier finds this theory more credible than has been previously imagined. He explains why it offers a better explanation for all the disparate evidence surviving from the first two centuries of the Christian era. He argues that we need a more careful and robust theory of cultural syncretism between Jewish theology and politics of the second-temple period and the most popular features of pagan religion and philosophy of the time. For everyone intent on defending a historical Jesus, this is the book to challenge them.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Brilliant. Can’t wait for a worthy rebuttal!

This is exactly what those interested in this period of history have been waiting for.

Carrier appears to address all the relevant evidence. He has an honest and logical approach, a seemingly unique quality for an author on this subject. Never claiming certainty where there is none but giving evidence its fair evaluation. He puts fallacious arguments in their place and has the wisdom of Solomon when laying judgement on the unknowable. Why does this feel like the exception when it should be the rule.

I only hope Carrier’s call for a response doesn’t go unanswered. Officially you will want to remain on the fence until we hear a qualified critique - but its an understatement to say Carrier is convincing. He seems fair and unbiased (albeit convinced of his position) so if he does turn out to be manipulating the data I will lay the blame on other academics in the field and thank Carrier for a very well narrated, thoroughly entertaining 41 hours of 'what if?’.

This laymen’s final verdict; Carrier might just have written the most influential book in history, on the most influential book in history. No wonder he needed two volumes.
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- Shane

Very compelling

I feel like it would be hard for anyone but a true believer to believe that an historical Jesus is more likely than a mythical Jesus after listening to this audio book.
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- Drew Johnson "Cowboydrewbop"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-11-2015
  • Publisher: Pitchstone Publishing