An original and well-executed addition to the Christ myth theory canon.

DECIPHERING THE GOSPELS

PROVES JESUS NEVER EXISTED

A revisionist work of biblical criticism argues that Jesus never existed.

The idea that Jesus is a fictional creation might sound like a ridiculous one to most people. But the Christ myth theory—the concept that the Jesus of the New Testament was an invented character who was later misinterpreted as a historical figure—has been around for centuries even if it has never formed the majority viewpoint among biblical scholars. While it is famously impossible to prove a negative, debut author Price thinks he has found definitive evidence that Jesus did not exist. His argument centers on the idea that all accounts of Jesus’ life originate from the four Gospels and that the three later Gospels (Matthew, Luke, and John) are themselves directly based on the earliest one (Mark). The author argues that the Gospel of Mark, rather than being a biographical account of the life of Jesus, is actually “a fictional allegory that was likely written sometime between 70 and 80 CE in reaction to the First Jewish-Roman War and the sacking of Jerusalem by the Romans.” Furthermore, the main character in Mark’s Gospel is modeled on a divine (but never human) messiah figure named Jesus who was worshipped by a small cult of apocalyptic Jews under the leadership of Paul of Tarsus. According to this understanding of the origins of Christianity, the teachings of Jesus (as readers think of them) are actually based on the precepts of Paul and not vice versa. Following the sacking of Jerusalem, a follower of Paul wrote the Gospel of Mark, placing this divine Jesus in a didactic narrative meant to explain how the Jews were being punished by God. By examining the relevant texts, particularly the Gospel of Mark, the author seeks to show that clues in the Scripture support this theory. While that may sound convoluted, Price manages to lay out his ideas in a clear and accessible manner. He writes for a general audience, giving necessary background information for those readers not familiar with the nuances of biblical scholarship: “Most biblical scholars simply view the sacking of Jerusalem as a reference point in time in relation to which the Gospel of Mark can be dated—simply an event on a timeline. But few actually put the Gospel of Mark in the context of the war.” Though Price admits to being an amateur in the field (he is a software engineer and data analyst), he proves to have a strong command of the material. The author’s conclusion is that because Jesus did not exist, the world should cease to care about him, which will likely upset any Christians who weren’t already turned off by the premise. But this work and questions of Jesus’ historicity in general are perhaps most useful when viewed as textual puzzles rather than matters of faith. Price’s proof is not definitive—it is likely that none ever will be—but much of it is persuasive and all of it is thought-provoking. Anyone interested in the evolution of Jesus as a world figure should find much here to chew on.

An original and well-executed addition to the Christ myth theory canon.

Pub Date: July 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4834-8784-7

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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