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Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth [Paperback]

By Burton L. Mack (Author)
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Item description for Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth by Burton L. Mack...

Burton Mack, the most radical of the premier Jesus scholars, details how the Christian myth was created. 2 maps.

Publishers Description

The Making of the Christian Myth

Commencing in mid February 2004, SBS TV (Australia) will run a two-part documentary based on this title.

In this groundbreaking and controversial book, Burton Mack brilliantly exposes how the Gospels are fictional mythologies created by different communities for various purposes and are only distantly related to the actual historical Jesus.

Mack's innovative scholarship which boldly challenges traditional Christian understanding' will change the way you approach the New Testament and think about how Christianity arose.

The clarity of Mack's prose and the intelligent pursuit of his subject make compelling reading. Mack's investigation of the various groups and strands of the early Christian community out of which were generated the texts of Christianity's first anthology of religious literature and makes sense of a topic that has been confusing.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 2, 1996
Publisher   HarperOne
ISBN  0060655186  
ISBN13  9780060655181  
UPC  099455017954  

Availability  26 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 06:13.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Burton L. Mack

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Burton L. Mack, Emeritus Professor of Early Christianity at the Claremont School of Theology, is the author of A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins; The Lost Gospel: Q and Christian Origins; and Who Wrote the New Testament: The Making of the Christian Myth.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Mythology > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Mythology
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Folklore & Mythology
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Commentaries > Commentaries
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > Criticism & Interpretation

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > Biblical History & Culture

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Reviews - What do customers think about Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth?

Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth  Mar 15, 2008
The author throws out an endless stream of interesting facts and observations that are not just his opinions, but the best of current knowledge. He not only shows the history of Christian belief, but how that history was carefully reconstructed.

This is an enjoyable and informative book. This is history told as a story. The author makes you want to know what happens next and why. When you finish, you will certainly have a better understanding of Judeo-Christian culture and the foundations of Western Civilization. But you don't need to be particularly interested in Christian history to find this book enjoyable, it is enough if you find the development of cultures and the creative ways they find to adapt to a changing world interesting.
Bad history - one man's political agenda  Oct 19, 2007
I don't understand how people can take this seriously. This is basically the author's ploy to get his socio/political opinion out there and have it backed by his "Jesus".
No Free Pass  Apr 15, 2007

Prologue (1-18): Myths are generated by the needs of a people, connecting their culture with its universal truths - a process that reconfigures the "worldview" in which one lives. All cultures have developed myths, consisting of their histories, their heroes, and their religions. Because of the great power of these myths, they can survive in a culture for thousands of years. Mack shows in "Who Wrote the New Testament" how the Judeo-Christian myth was created.

Part I (19-98): The multicultural Greco-Roman mileau left behind after the conquests of Alexander the Great. How the clashing of cultures led to a myriad of new belief systems in their infancy stages, the Jesus Movements being among them; how this simple movement (somewhat modeled after the Greek Cynics) tried on many new layers of belief, discarded most along the way, and was eventually forced to consolidate into "orthodox" Christianity when Constantine made the religion legal in 314 CE.

Part II (99-224): Individual discussion of each book of the New Testament (and selected extra-canonical books), the political-socio-cultural phenomena in play when they were written, and who the probable authors were.

Part III (225-292): Why advocates of the Christ myth came to rely on apostolic tradition, why Christianity stole the Old Testament from the Jews, and the politics behind canonization of the New Testament.

Epilogue (293-310): Biblical scholars start out with the best of intentions when approaching the Bible with the idea of critical analysis, however, most of them stop short of applying the same techniques an anthropologist would apply to a religion. After 2,000 years, the Judeo-Christian myth continues to cast a bronze-age mentality over political decisions in 21st century America.

Mack's book does not suffer from the usual lack of critical analysis of the Judeo-Christian myth. From every perspective, he painstakingly explains how the story was changed over and over, year after year, decade after decade, even century after century - as changing cultural and political needs dictated. This is a book to be not just read, but studied. It is a brilliant expose of Christianity as a typical example of myth-making - something many of us who went to church in our youths always suspected, but were afraid to mention. For me, the myth no longer gets a free pass from critical analysis.

A Wealth of Information on NT Origins; Immensely Worth Reading   Apr 11, 2007
Dr. Mack has given us an excellent, albeit opinionated, discussion of how the New Testament came to be what it is. I can't fault him for being opinionated; as a leading New Testament scholar and recognized expert on the subject, he has done his homework and is entitled to be confident of his opinions. Even if he is wrong about a few points, which he probably is, (so which of us is infallible?) he clearly knows a great deal about his subject, and is right for by far the most part.

Perhaps he should have noted that the Q hypothesis, of which he is a leading proponent, is somewhat controversial, but the majority of serious New Testament scholars accept it. The leading minority alternative is Michael D. Goulder's one-source hypothesis, more accessibly presented by Goulder's disciple John Shelby Spong in Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes I have too much respect for Goulder, Mack, and Spong to have an opinion as to who is right and who is not, but I do strongly recommend Spong's book as well as Mack's. There is much in each that the other doesn't cover. One reviewer recommended Bart Ehrman, and I concur, but as a supplement to Mack and Spong, not an alternative. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (Plus)
Analytically and Comprehensively Satisfying - Solves NT Mystery  Apr 9, 2007
This book evinces multitudinous manipulative labors that spewed forth as products reaped from biblical curiosity and relevant work. Many religious ideas have, through many centuries, including present times, confounded and caused so much consternation, doubt, disbelief, discomfort, etc. Efforts in rewriting the New Testament through the ages have been and continues to be existent to the point of the possibililty of becoming a nightmare coming true virtually because of the very existence of the enigmatic Book of Revelations. Translation and interpretaion play necessary roles in all this confusion, also.

Various "experts" (so many "fingers in the pudding") appear with purposes to improve or clarify the New Testament to better persuade, attract and/or generate more or improved means toward belief and faith with dubious intent. The world is and has always been questionable in many ways. In all religious institutions, mythology proliferates. Mythology thrives and works somehow - God's breath living and breathing through our mental systems - in and out of this world. Mythology can lift your spirits, help to put you out of harm's way, can assist in providing good health (mind controls the body) - so many advantages. I would say that mythology is and has been a significant basis for religion and in many cases can appear to work with miraculous intent. Really, I have come to the deduction that religion is not religion with mythology. We definitely live in a mysterious world. As far as the subject of the New
Testament and the whole Bible is concerned, mythology was and still is a reigning phenomenon.

To be fairly familiar with life in ancient and medieval times and thought-processing, Greek philosophy, works of the apostolic fathers and literary works during the time of Constantine and the Clements, etc., the Greek language and at least the Hebrew alphabet, one can understand more concerning the Bible - some knowledge of Egyptian and Babylonian history also enhances one's knowledge when working with the Bible. We would not have our Bible without Babylon (Iraq) and Egypt.

Transformation of the human mind and gaining knowledge and understanding by various attempts at learnig are activities that constantly occur. This book is definitely and effectively enlightening and helpful.

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