This is from the back cover of my new book: Inventing Jesus: The New Testament Narrative as Fiction. It's available now at: http://inventingjesus.com/

There are over two billion people in the world who self-identify as Christians, but almost all of them know next to nothing about how their faith began. The most amazing thing they don't know is that Jesus was a fictional character created by various communities in the process of breaking away from Temple Judaism.

Peter and Paul, too, are unlikely to have lived. Peter was created as a literary foil for the character of Jesus, and Paul's epistles may have been forged during the early second-century.

This book offers two arguments: first, that there is no evidence for Jesus (or Peter or Paul) outside of the New Testament, and, second, that the excessive diversity and confusion of the first five centuries of Christianity was possible only because there was no human and historical Jesus to serve as an anchor for the faith.

Paul Gabel is a graduate of the History Department at the University of California at Berkeley and has taught history for 33 years. He has previously published "And God Created Lenin: Marxism and Religion in Russia, 1917–1929" (2005).

I hope you'll check it out.

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Comment by Paul Gabel on January 30, 2012 at 12:22pm

Yes, Inventing Jesus will be peer reviewed. Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine is in the process of reviewing it now.

Comment by Jon on January 17, 2012 at 10:41am

I prefer the story of Dionysus anyway

Comment by booklover on January 15, 2012 at 4:36pm

Plus the jesus story is totally unoriginal.  xtians won't listen to that though. You have to have faith. which apparently means sticking their fingers in their ears and going LALALALALALALALA while you try and explain why their belief is irrational.

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