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Works by
Robert M. Price
[1954 - ]

criticus at mindvendor.com
(Email address in a 'spamBot' proof format. If emailing manually, substitute @ for "at" in the address.)
Profile created December 25, 2006

Editing Literary Criticism

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  • Beyond Born Again: Towards Evangelical Maturity (1993)

  • The Widow Traditions in Luke-Acts: A Feminist-Critical Scrutiny (1997)

  • Mystic Rhythms: The Philosophical Vision of RUSH (1998) with Carol Selby Price (1998)
    In the late 1970s, during the golden age of FM Rock Music, a group emerged from Canada which was utterly different from all the rest. Where other musicians sang of suicide, betrayal, and drugs, Rush talked about motivation, the realization of dreams, and the future. Here were albums filled with ideas, not ennui, ideas whose voices could not be shouted down. Here were three modern-day philosophers -- Neil Peart, Alec Lifeson and Geddy Lee -- wondering aloud, in perfect rhythm, about modern-day issues that affect us all. Here was a trio of songsters trying to awaken a sense of curiosity in their listeners, trying to spark interest in man's creations and in life itself, trying to show us both the important and the unimportant things in modern civilization.

    Carol Selby Price and Robert M. Price have selected for discussion many of the best-known songs of Rush, organizing them into seven chapters based around general themes. The pieces lend themselves to such treatment quite naturally, since there is a consistent development in Rush from the very beginning of the group to modern times. Rush's lyrics are complex, and the ideas in them not always easily understood. Mystic Rhythms will provide the key to these lyrical puzzles, provoking as much thought as the songs themselves.

    Compete with Chronology, Discography, Videography, and a Selected Bibliography of books about Rush and related topics.

  • Deconstructing Jesus (1999)
    In DECONSTRUCTING JESUS, author Robert M. Price argues that liberal Protestant scholars who produce reconstructions of the "historical Jesus" are, as Albert Schweitzer pointed out long ago, creating their own Jesus icons to authorize a liberal religious agenda. Christian faith, whether fundamentalist or theologically liberal, invariably tends to produce a Jesus capable of playing the role of a religious figurehead. In this way, "Jesus Christ" functions as a symbolic cloak for several hidden agendas. This is no surprise, Price demonstrates, since the Jesus Christ of the gospels is very likely a fictional amalgam of several first-century prophets and messiahs, as well as of purely mythic Mystery Cult redeemers and Gnostic Aions. To show this, Price follows the noted scholar Burton Mack's outline of a range of "Jesus movements" and "Christ cults," showing the origins of each one's Jesus figures and how they may have finally merged into the patchwork savior of Christian dogma.

    Finally, Price argues that there is good reason to believe that Jesus never existed as a historical figure, and that responsible historians must remain agnostic about a "historical Jesus" and what he stood for.

  • Jesus Christ Superstar: A Redactional Study of a Modern Gospel (2005, Revised edition in progress)

  • The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?  (2004)
    In THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SON OF MAN, Robert M. Price, a noted biblical scholar and a member of the Jesus Seminar, investigates the historical accuracy of Jesus as written in the New Testament stories. Beginning with the assumption that Jesus indeed walked the earth, Price discovers that the Bible provides no paint with which to draw a historically accurate portrait of such an important religious figure. Price juxtaposes Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John's accounts of Jesus' life, revealing both well-known and not-so-obvious contradictions in the Gospels.

    In his introduction, Price defines and defends higher criticism of the Bible, a tool he uses to reconcile history with Scripture. Next, Price presents the sources the Gospel writers used to compose their works, as well as the territory already charted by biblical scholarship. Price's investigation follows a traditional life-of-Jesus outline, starting with Jesus' birth--why is it celebrated on December 25? Was it really a virgin birth?

    In chapter 4, Price analyzes Baptist and other Christian beliefs about Jesus and John the Baptist, proposing that the latter's role may not be historical. Price wrestles with the controversial question of miracles, setting the groundwork for judging the authenticity of these stories. Many miracle accounts, Price shows, have parallels in other Jewish and Hellenistic traditions, and each miracle story has a particular structure, which fits a general pattern. Does this mean that historians cannot judge any miracle stories as occurring historically?

    After scrutinizing stories of Jesus as a man of the people, Price delves into the descriptions of the twelve disciples, analyzing each one, especially Simon Peter. In this thorough examination, Price draws parallels with other religious traditions. The next two chapters take this comparison a step further in a brief review of Buddhism. Finally, Price surveys the details of the accounts of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, concluding that similarities in Christian and other religious traditions must mean a common origin--one with no room for a historical Jesus.

    THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SON OF MAN belongs in the tradition of David Friedrich Strauss and Rudolf Bultmann, scrutinizing the Gospels concisely and in astonishing detail. Price takes a consistent, thorough-going critical look at the gospel tradition, discarding faith's mandates and delivering good reasons for every skeptical judgment of the Gospels' historical accuracy in depicting Jesus.

    A prequel to Price's DECONSTRUCTING JESUS, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SON OF MAN explains advanced scholarship on the historical Jesus in terms--and with references to popular culture--that any reader can understand.

  • Beyond Born Again: On Putting Away Childish Things (2005, Revised edition in progress)

  • The Empty Tomb: Jesus beyond the Grave (2005) with Jeffrey Jay Lowder, ed. (2005)
    Did Jesus rise from the dead? Although 19th- and early 20th-century biblical scholarship dismissed the resurrection narratives as late, legendary accounts, Christian apologists in the late 20th century revived historical apologetics for the resurrection of Jesus with increasingly sophisticated arguments. A few critics have directly addressed some of the new arguments, but their response has been largely muted. The Empty Tomb scrutinizes the claims of leading Christian apologists and critiques their view of the resurrection as the best historical explanation. The contributors include New Testament scholars, philosophers, historians, and leading nontheists. They focus on the key questions relevant to assessing the historicity of the resurrection: What did the authors of the New Testament mean when they said Jesus rose from the dead? What historical evidence is needed to establish the resurrection? If there is a God, why would He resurrect Jesus? Was there an empty tomb? What should we make of the appearance stories? Apart from historical evidence, is belief in the resurrection justified?

    The Empty Tomb provides a sober, objective response to arguments offered in defense of Christianity’s central claim.

  • The Da Vinci Fraud: Why the Truth Is Stranger than Fiction (2005)
    Was Leonardo Da Vinci a member of the "Priory of Sion," a secret society reaching all the way back to the Crusades? Does his famous painting, "The Last Supper," contain a hidden code about this society’s most precious secret? Did Jesus father children by Mary Magdalene? What was the Holy Grail?

    The best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown has stirred the popular imagination by cleverly interweaving theories about such questions with a fast-paced fictional narrative. Many readers have been so swept away by the drama of this murder mystery that they have accepted Brown’s fictional reconstruction of Christian origins and medieval history as established fact.

    New Testament scholar Robert M. Price, a member of the Jesus Seminar, examines the creative uses of history in Brown’s novel, showing that, however intriguing Brown’s fictional speculations may be, the real facts behind the novel are even more fascinating. What does the best historical evidence say about the possibility that Jesus might have survived the crucifixion? How did the Gospels come to be accepted as the established accounts of Jesus’ life and why were other Gnostic traditions suppressed? How did the Roman Emperor Constantine figure in the development of Christian dogma? What was Mary Magdalene’s role in early Christianity and how was it adapted in later attempts to develop a "sacred feminine" element in Christianity? These are some of the important questions about Christianity that Dr. Price pursues in this engrossing discussion of Christian history. Price combines sophisticated historical analysis with completely accessible and witty prose in this enlightening, factually based sequel to Brown’s speculative bestseller.

  • The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? (2006)
    Pastor Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life has been both a commercially successful best seller and a widely influential book in the Christian community. As a rejoinder to the fundamentalist assumptions of Warren’s book, Robert Price, a biblical scholar, a member of the Jesus Seminar, and a former liberal Baptist pastor, offers this witty, thoughtful, and detailed critique. Following the concise forty-chapter structure of Warren’s book, Price’s point-counterpoint approach emphasizes the importance of reason in understanding life’s realities as opposed to Warren’s devotional perspective. Price, who was once a born-again Christian in his youth, is in a unique position to offer an appreciation of the wisdom that Warren shares while at the same time challenging many of his main points. In particular, Price takes issue with Warren’s use of numerous scriptural quotations, demonstrating how many of them have little to do with the points Warren is trying to make. An important section of the book shows that the popular evangelical notion of "a personal relationship with Jesus Christ" is utterly without any scriptural basis. Besides criticism, Price also provides many persuasive arguments for the use of reason as a tool for developing moral maturity and an intelligent, realistic perspective on life’s highs and lows. Ultimately, the reason-driven life offers a healthier, alternative approach to wisdom and motivation, says Price, than the simplistic answers and feel-good emotionalism at the heart of Warren’s prescription for life.

  • The Pre-Nicene New Testament: Fifty-four Formative Texts (2006)
    Through to the mid-fourth century AD, there were twice as many sacred writings in circulation in Christendom as were ultimately canonized for the New Testament. Not until AD 367, forty-two years after the famous Council of Nicea, would Saint Athanasius begin sorting through and determining which works should be granted special status. Prior to that time, Christians had recognized only the Hebrew Bible as scripture, all other works being seen as expressions rather than as sources of faith. Out of political necessity, and for the sake of unity and order in the church, canonization was harshly imposed on the churches. For scholars today, seeking to understand the breadth of early Christian teachings, it is important to consider all available sources. To that end, Professor Price offers the earliest extant versions of fifty-four books, all of which were once considered sacred, including both the New Testament books and lesser known works. These have been compiled into a single convenient, readable, and reliable volume.

  • Inerrant the Wind: The Evangelical Crisis of Biblical Authority (2007 release)

  • The Buddha and the Bible (In progress)

See also
  • Deathrealm - The Land Where Horror Lives - Number 10 (1989)

  • Eldritch Blue: Love & Sex In The Cthulhu Mythos (2004)
    Includes short story by Robert M. Price

  • The God Who Wasn't There (2005)
    Buy DVD
    Bowling for Columbine did it to the gun culture. Super Size Me did it to fast food. Now The God Who Wasn't There does it to religion. Holding modern Christianity up to a bright spotlight, this eye-opening documentary asks the questions few dare to ask. "Did Jesus even exist?" is just the beginning for The God Who Wasn't There. Your guide through the world of Christendom is former fundamentalist Brian Flemming, joined by such luminaries as Jesus Seminar fellow Robert M. Price, author Sam Harris and historian Richard Carrier.

    In addition to the film, which won the Best Documentary award at the 2005 Grassroots Cinema Film Festival, this feature-packed DVD includes:

    -Special commentary tracks with Richard Dawkins and Earl Doherty -Over one hour of compelling additional interview footage -An in-depth Web-enabled slide show -Music from the soundtrack -Bios of all participants

    This provocative DVD takes off the gloves and gives religion an unprecedented, no-holds-barred examination. So hold on to your faith. It's in for a bumpy ride.


  • Robert M. Price has also had many essays published at C*NAQ  (Christian*New Age Quarterly).  See also Catherine Groves.

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