ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

The Mythical Life of Jesus

Clarion Review (5 Stars)

In the midst of a spiritual crisis, after leaving a thirty-year career in the clergy, Larry Marshall discovered the writings of Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn (1880-1963). Kuhn received his PhD from Columbia with the thesis “Theosophy: A Modern Revival of the Ancient Wisdom,” the first doctoral thesis ever accepted on Theosophy, wherein he demonstrated that much of the content of biblical Christianity originated in pre-Christian paganism.

The Mythical Life of Jesus is an extremely worthwhile compilation of Kuhn’s extensive writings about Jesus and the Gospels, painstakingly organized by Marshall. Kuhn believed that the historical Jesus Christ never existed, but was instead a creation of third century Christian church leaders. None of the cornerstone details of Jesus’ life, from the immaculate conception through his birth, ministry, healings, crucifixion, and resurrection, were real, and Kuhn cited overwhelming evidence to defend this apostasy. He wrote, “Tersely, it can be stated as verifiable truth that the conception of the Messiah-Christ as a human being of flesh and blood had not been extant in the ancient world until it took form in the degenerative philosophy of the early Christian centuries.” Kuhn documented that every notable incident, every meaningful parable, every wise teaching in the Gospels could be found in ancient Egyptian, Buddhist, pagan, Greek, Platonian, and other texts that predated them.

Kuhn’s motivation was only secondarily to expose historical fallacies; his primary goal was to inspire humanity to re-realize their own divinity. “Had there been one personal Christ or a thousand,” he wrote, “it is still the leaven of Christliness in the soul of humanity that must save it…The historical Christ is therefore only a superadded and supernumerary theological luxury.”

The Mythical Life of Jesus is a groundbreaking book, guaranteed to shift set-in-stone paradigms and forever change the way one thinks about a sacred subject. Its core tenet, that there was no historical Jesus, begs the question: how could thousands of theologians throughout history been so patently wrong? This extraordinary book is not for the faint of heart or lovers of the status quo. Marshall contends that all clergy and laity need to read The Mythical Life of Jesus, and Kuhn’s assertion that the human quest for Christliness was lost when Christ was personified adds compelling credence to the claim.

Patty Sutherland