I was contacted recently by Dr DJ Nicholls, who had bought my books on the Resurrection and Nativity after reading my one on free will (one that I seriously need to rewrite and was on the cards for such this year before other projects jumped in!). He is a former evangelical who then went on in later life to gain a BA in Religious Studies and an MPhil and PhD in Philosophy. Anyway, he has been really impressed, enough to contact me and then write these Amazon reviews:
The Resurrection: A Critical Examination of the Easter Story [UK]:
Excellent. Definitely recommended.
This book is superb: it not only deal with issues directly related to Jesus’ supposed resurrection, but it does so in considerable detail. Furthermore, it also deals with a wide range of associated issues. It covers the atonement, the extraordinary claims made, an overview of the gospels, the absence of evidence for events related in the gospels, the silence of the apostle Paul, the events that led up to the crucifixion, the use of prophecy or rather, supposed prophecy, the person of Joseph of Arimathea, burial practices, Matthew’s account, a discussion about the tomb and the women visitors, the difference of opinion regarding Jesus’ resurrection (physical or ‘spiritual’), the alleged post-resurrection appearances, the veneration of the tomb, and naturalistic theories.
I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to consider an honest and in-depth consideration of the subject.
I would add that I was surprised (a)the author is not a mythicist, which to me is essential to make sense of both the New Testament and early Church history; (b)the author appears to date Mark as 70CE (p.54): however, I believe Prof G. A. Wells’s dating of Mark to the final years of the first century CE, to be far more likely.
And The Nativity: A Critical Examination [UK]:
This is the third book I have read, written by Jonathan Pearce, and as the previous two, it makes fascinating reading with an abundance of information.
It deals with the Nativity stories as detailed in the gospels of Luke and Matthew, and a wide range of subjects associated with these (conflicting) accounts. The author deals with the subject of the virgin birth and the mistranslation of the word virgin, the problems caused by Jesus having no human father (although he was supposed to be fully human), the contradictory genealogies, the relevance of Bethlehem in the stories, and how Luke dates Jesus’ birth during the census under Quirinius, whereas Matthew has the birth in the reign of Herod, who died some ten years earlier. The author deals with attempts by Bible literalists to change the dates of Quirinius’ governorship and/or Herod’s death, so they coincide, and demonstrates how these do not stand up to scrutiny.
He also deals with the absurdity of Joseph and Mary having to travel to Bethlehem because of a census and other issues such as the Magi and the Bethlehem star. The role and person of Herod is also discussed in some detail.
I valued this book as while I have read about the attempts to change the date of Herod’s death and/or Luke’s census, the author deals with these matters in considerable detail. The concluding chapter provides a valuable summary of the problems facing anyone who believes the Gospel account(s).
I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Nativity account (or rather, accounts).
Check out his website on philosophy and Schopenhauer, as well as Jesus mythicism. He’s a good man! I can feel it in my bones.
Massive thanks to anyone who reviews my books (well, the good ones) – thank you, it makes such a difference. I am no Dawkins and every book sale has an impact, especially in light of having to take early ill-health retirement from my career due to my MS. So, kudos to Dr Nicholls, and thanks to y’all.
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