Robert M. Price

American theologian

Robert McNair Price (born July 7, 1954) is an American theologian and writer. He is professor of theology and scriptural studies at the Coleman Theological Seminary, professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute, and the author of a number of books on theology and the historicity of Jesus

Robert M. Price


  • Various hearers of Jesus may well be imagined as unwittingly embellishing their Lord’s teachings as they meant to do nothing but pass them along. I cannot be too severe with the man in Monty Python's Life of Brian (of Nazareth) who thought he had heard Jesus say, “Blessed are the cheese makers,” nor of his neighbor who glossed the saying to include “any manufacturers of dairy products.”
  • Though he [Charles Guignebert] could not accept either the Christ myth theory, which held that no historical Jesus existed, or the Dutch Radical denial that Paul authored any of the epistles, Guignebert took both quite seriously.
  • Generations of Rationalists and freethinkers have held that Jesus Christ corresponds to no historical character: There never was a Jesus of Nazareth. We might call this categorical denial “Jesus atheism.” What I am describing is something different, a “Jesus agnosticism.” There may have been a Jesus on earth in the past, but the state of the evidence is so ambiguous that we can never be sure what this figure was like or, indeed, whether there was such a person.
  • I am not trying to say that there was a single origin of the Christian savior Jesus Christ, and that origin is pure myth; rather, I am saying that there may indeed have been such a myth, and that if so, it eventually flowed together with other Jesus images, some one of which may actually have been based on a historical Jesus the Nazorean.
  • If someone charges that my endeavor here is wholly speculative, I congratulate him on his grasp of the obvious.
  • I find myself more and more attracted to the theory, once vigorously debated by scholars, now smothered by tacit consent, that there was no historical Jesus lying behind the stained glass of the gospel mythology.
  • Links in the gospels, e.g., with Herod the Great, Joseph Caiaphas, and Pontius Pilate, are so problematical on internal grounds that most critical scholars, never meaning to espouse Mythicism, reject these features of the story as legendary.
  • I realized, after studying much previous research on the question [of Jesus], that virtually every story in the gospels and Acts can be shown to be very likely a Christian rewrite of material from the Septuagint, Homer, Euripides' Bacchae, and Josephus. ...A literary origin is always to be preferred to an historical one in such a case. And that is the choice we have to make in virtually every case of New Testament narrative. [...] There may once have been an historical Jesus, but for us there is one no longer. If he existed, he is forever lost behind the stained glass curtain of holy myth. At least that's the current state of the evidence as I see it.
  • In the case of Jesus Christ, where virtually every detail of the story fits the mythic hero archetype, with nothing left over, no "secular," biographical data, so to speak, it becomes arbitrary to assert that there must have been a historical figure lying back of the myth.
  • Alan Dundes has shown, the gospel life of Jesus corresponds in most particulars with the worldwide paradigm of the Mythic Hero Archetype as delineated by Lord Raglan, Otto Rank, and others.
  • [Per the Gospels] Every single story bears the marks of fiction, with earlier versions ruling out later ones, with extrabiblical parallels providing abundant nonhistorical analogies, while current experience provides no historical parallel. The Gospels certainly do not put us in touch with the faith (whatever it may have been) of the earliest Christians. They do not tell us whether the resurrection of Jesus was even part of the first Christian faith(s). Everywhere we have looked, we have found naught but legend and myth, fiction and redaction.

Top Secret (2008)

Price, Robert M. (2008). Top Secret: The Truth Behind Today's Pop Mysticisms. Prometheus Books, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-61592-053-2. 
  • One thing's for sure: if Mark Twain could have read A Course in Miracles, he never would have called the Book of Mormon "chloroform in print". Utterly without redeeming value (take that any way you want), the only conceivable importance of A Course in Miracles is a testimony to the pathetic state of spiritual hunger and confusion on the part of late twentieth-century American "seekers."
    • P. 131
  • Every religion diagnoses a problem, to which it then prescribes a single solution. One often feels the problem has been derived from the solution so as to provide a felt need for it, in the manner of Madison Avenue.
    • P. 136

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