The Christian Myth
This narrative exploration traces Burton Mack's intellectual evolution from an analyst of ancient texts to a scholar searching for the motives and interests of Jesus's followers who composed those texts, and for the social logic of the Christian myths they...
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This narrative exploration traces Burton Mack's intellectual evolution from an analyst of ancient texts to a scholar searching for the motives and interests of Jesus's followers who composed those texts, and for the social logic of the Christian myths they created.;He rejects the standard portrayals of Jesus as peasant teacher, mystical visionary, and miracle-working prophet, as being contradictory and untrue to the many images of Jesus produced by the early Christians. Mack traces the the legacy of the Christian myth's colonizing aspirations and monopolistic ambitions, concluding with a reflection of the Christian myth and Christian nation in the context of recent American history.
"It is now nearly a century since the book known in English as The Quest of the Historical Jesus initiated successive waves of reassessment of the figure who is arguable by the most influential in two millennia of Western civilization. Beyond the traditional religious view of Jesus as son of God and savior, recent decades have seen him depicted as peasant teacher, revolutionary leader, mystic and visionary, miracle-working prophet. The Christian Myth rejects these various portrayals as being not only based on a priori assumptions about Jesus and therefore contradictory of one another, but also as untrue to the many images of Jesus produced by the early Christians. In short, "the quest" has proven to be a failure." "This failure stems in large part from taking the canonical gospels as history, and ignoring the pre-gospel and extra-gospel accounts from the earliest layers of Jesus stories and sayings. Those layers disclose a widespread and variegated mythmaking process in the earliest schools and communities of Jesus' followers that was generated by social, economic, even geographical "interests." What is needed, Burton Mack suggests, is a systematic analysis of those interests which is not driven by either personal ("meeting Jesus") or theological ("building Church") motives, but which seeks to redescribe and understand the cultural and anthropological modalities whereby Christian myths and rituals were first conceived and agreed upon."--BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Burton L. Mack is John Wesley Professor of the New Testament at the school of Theology at Claremont and the author of "The Lost Gospel: The Book Q and Christian Origin" and "A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins.