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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 1. 1964.

Book on Jesus Unchristian ?

Book on Jesus Unchristian ?

The Death of Jesus, by Joel Carmichael (Gollancz, 2751 pp., English Price, 25/-. Reviewed by C. Matthias Hill.

To the Jews, Jesus Christ was an imposter and blasphemer. Joel Carmichael, although he does not specifically state that he agrees with this view, writes with this in mind.

He presents Jesus as merely a leader of the zealots who lead an abortive attack on the temple, and was captured by the temple police, handed over to the Romans and executed by them. Carmichael arrives at this conclusion by basing his discussion on one main criterion that any fragment of evidence in the gospels which is contrary to the prevailing tendency in them to glorify Jesus, is to be regarded as ipso facto historically probable. All the rest, i.e., those facts which tend to elevate Jesus to the Messiahship, have been tempered by the mistakes, whether deliberate or not, that other people, notably Paul, have made about the life of Jesus.

Carmichael presents a successful argument using only those facts contained in the gospels which fulfil his rather usual criterion of credibility. Success could hardly elude him under those conditions.

However, he has been far from successful in explaining the invalidity of those facts in the gospels which are the fundamentals to the Christian view of the life of Jesus.

Whether Carmichael is right or wrong (a decision for the reader) this book does make one think and it could be considered a fair test of anyone's faith to read it and still believe.