Deciphering The Gospels
Proves Jesus Never Existed

Overview
Are the Gospels based on the life of a real person named Jesus? Is it possible to determine what events described in the Gospels really happened or what things Jesus may really have said? Why were the Gospels written? Why did the Romans forsake all other religions to adopt Christianity as the one true religion?

Deciphering the Gospels Proves Jesus Never Existing presents new intertextual research that provides evidence-based answers to each of these questions. Deciphering the Gospels walks the reader through the evidence step-by-step. “Price manages to lay out his ideas in a clear and accessible manner. He writes for a general audience, giving necessary background information for those readers not familiar with the nuances of biblical scholarship.” (Kirkus)

Deciphering the Gospels builds on decades of both mainstream and “mythicist” biblical scholarship, but fills in gaps with new evidence brought to light by data analyst R. G. Price. Price brings years of analytic experience to the research of biblical texts and other early Christian writings, to reveal previously unrecognized literary references and textual relationships. Price adds these new findings to the body of existing scholarship to show that, taken together, we now have enough information to draw concrete conclusions about how the worship of Jesus originated, developed, and spread.

Deciphering the Gospels works within the framework of mainstream biblical scholarship, accepting many mainstream conclusions. Price’s work is largely in agreement with the dating, believed authenticity, and translation of biblical texts according to mainstream scholarship. Yet Deciphering the Gospels presents evidence to show where mainstream scholarship is insufficient.

Ultimately, the case presented in Deciphering the Gospels builds on the case presented by Arthur Drews, Earl Doherty, Richard Carrier, and others: that the worship of Jesus originated with the worship of a heavenly deity, not a real person. The biggest challenge to the idea that Jesus was originally a heavenly deity has always been the Gospels. For years there has been a strong case that the first worshipers of Jesus were worshiping a heavenly being that they believed was revealed to them through scripture. However, mainstream scholars have taken the position that the Gospels provide even more compelling evidence that Jesus was a real person. What Deciphering the Gospels shows is that every biography of Jesus descends from a single fictional story. That story is what we call the Gospel of Mark.

Deciphering the Gospels focuses on the Gospel of Mark to show that the Gospel of Mark is an entirely fictional story written in reaction to the First Jewish-Roman War of 70 CE, in which the Jesus character is actually based on the apostle Paul. It is shown that the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, as well as the relationship between Jesus and his “disciples”, are all derived from the letters of Paul. Furthermore, the plot of the story and all of the major scenes are based on literary allusions to the Jewish scriptures, namely to passages from the story of Elijah and Elisha, as well as to various psalms and writings of the prophets. Price demonstrates that these literary references were misinterpreted by Romans as evidence that Jesus had fulfilled many ancient prophecies, leading them to conclude that they proved his divinity.

Deciphering the Gospels shows how this evidence proves that nothing described in the Gospel of Mark really happened and explores the implications of this finding. What Deciphering the Gospels shows is that once we understand that the Gospel of Mark is entirely fictional, it becomes clear that every biography and description of Jesus ultimately flows from this single story. It was the Gospel of Mark that spawned belief in a human Jesus. Once we see that, we see that the Jesus being worshiped prior to the spread of the Gospel stories was an imaginary heavenly being, not a person.

Deciphering the Gospels proves that Jesus never existed by proving that Jesus was a heavenly deity, about whom a fictional story was written that people mistook as an account of the life of a real person.
Q & A
Q: Aren’t there non-Christian historical sources that confirm Jesus was a real person?
A: No. The book addresses various passages from ancient historical sources that are sometimes touted as “evidence for Jesus”. Those sources are passages from Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, and Suetonius (all from the late first or early second century). The passages from Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius are widely acknowledged as not providing any evidence that Jesus was a real person. The passages from Josephus, the most controversial of the group, are addressed in detail, showing why they are not credible.

Q: Doesn’t the apostle Paul clearly state that Jesus was a real person?
A: No. The letters of Paul are addressed in detail in the book. An overview of Paul’s statements regarding the nature of Jesus are also addressed on this website here: Beyond the Book

Q: Didn’t Jesus have a brother named James who was widely known?
A: No. The idea that someone named James was a literal brother of Jesus is a product of confusion among second and third century Christian scholars. The status of James is addressed in detail in the book, showing that it's clear no one thought James was a literal brother of Jesus until the late second century. An overview regarding James is provided on this website here: A Note on James

Q: Didn’t Peter establish a church in Rome and directly tell people about Jesus?
A: No. Virtually nothing is known about the real Peter (or Cephas). Other than what was written about Peter in Paul’s letters, essentially everything else written about him is not credible. There is no evidence that Peter ever actually went to Rome or established a church anywhere. That is a part of Catholic doctrine, which has been refuted by scholars and historians for centuries.

Q: Doesn’t the source known as “Q” prove that accounts of Jesus go back to his own lifetime or shortly after his death?
A: No. “Q” is a hypothesis that was conceived as a way to explain relationships between the texts of the Gospels. No evidence that Q is real has ever been found, and there are significant cases against the Q hypothesis laid out by biblical scholars, such as Michael Goulder and Mark Goodacre. A case against Q is also outlined in the book as well. An expanded assessment of Q is provided on this website here: A Note on Q

Q: Aren’t there other non-canonical writings, such as the Gospel of Thomas, that provide evidence for Jesus?
A: While there are many non-canonical writings about Jesus, none of the ones that describe him as a person or purport to record his teachings show independence from the Gospels. In other words, all of those writings show evidence that they were written after the Gospels and were influenced by the Gospels. Non-canonical writing about Jesus are addressed in detail in the book.

Q: If Jesus wasn’t a real person, then how did the worship of Jesus originate?
A: This is an open question, but it appears that the worship of Jesus originated alongside the worship of other heavenly beings worshiped by some Jews at this time, such as Melchizedek (a heavenly savior figure), Metatron (a Jewish "second god"), arch-angels such as Michael and Gabriel, and figures like the “son of Man” described by prophets such as Enoch and Daniel.

Q: If Jesus wasn’t a real person, then why do the Gospels describe him as one? Why were the Gospels written?
A: That’s what the book is all about. The case put forward in the book is that the first Gospel, the Gospel of Mark, was written in reaction to the First Jewish-Roman War. It is a story written by a follower of the apostle Paul, in which the Jesus character is an anthropomorphized version of the spiritual Jesus described by Paul. The story itself is largely based on the Jewish story of Elijah and Elisha and the teachings of Jesus are actually Paul’s teachings. All of the other Gospels are derived from the Gospel of Mark. From the beginning the Gospel stories were widely believed to be literally true, though in-fact the first Gospel that they are all based on is a fictional story.


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