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Posted April 1, 2011
The subtitle of Dr. Robert M Price's book The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man tells the whole story: How Reliable is the Gospel Tradition? And that is the question we all have, as either atheists or theists. How reliable is this thing? Many don't believe in the supernatural aspects relayed on the pages, but the "reliability" of scripture is an argument almost every Christian will bring up as a reason to believe in god. So, what if it wasn't so reliable?
Price starts off with a short introduction into the method of form criticism, and then moves quickly into it's application. He tackles the gospel story in pretty much chronological order and quickly points out how easily dismissed many of the claims can be: items like the virgin birth, the lineage of Jesus, his ministry, and the miracles just don't hold up to close scrutiny from either a logical or a historical perspective.
When Price really gets going, he points out the two different (often completely contradictory) Christian traditions found in the bible, that he compares to the Buddhist Hinayana and Mahayana schools. The fact that there even are different schools of thought in the New Testament seems to escape most of the followers of Christianity but, once you learn to recognize them, the compositional style of the Bible begins to unfold right in front of you.
Price concludes with revealing chapters on the crucifixion and resurrection. He clearly shows the evolving nature of the resurrection narrative.
Never one to expect anyone to merely accept what he says, Price includes notes at the end of each chapter and a scriptural index at the end of the book.
Highly Recommended and entertaining to read