Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1954. First Edition (Revised). Cloth. Large, thick 8vo (nearly 2 1/2 pounds), black label + gray cloth, unclipped dj, svii + 982 pages. HEAVY BOOK: 3 lbs., 7 oz. Very Good / Very Good. Item #72
Very Scarce title in this condition especially with the Very Good dust jacket (a few small tears & slight rubbing at extremities). Previous owner's ink Ex Libris on free front endpaper.
Extremely useful compendium with discussions of early, parallel patristic and rival Gnostic sayings relating to traditional Gospel passages. Though poet-classisist Robert Graves occcasionally (often?) becomes too speculative, this hefty volume anticipates conclusions reached much later by Morton Smith and The Jesus' Seminar. This voluminous study combines Robert Graves' insights with the Jewish background information provided by scholar Joshua Podro.
Drawing upon Jewish scholarship and a vast knowledge of the ancient world, Graves and Podro attempted to reconstruct the sayings of the historical Jesus by reconstructing the often diverging and tendentious Gospel narratives. This revised edition endeavors to unravel distortions in the original texts to uncover the "truth" pf Jesus’s words and actions. When first published, Graves' tome became highly controversial.
Consider Graves' disparagment of the Gospel's koine Greek: "Judged by Greek literary standards, they are poor; by historical standards, unreliable; and their doctrine is confused and contradictory. The late-Victorian atheist (was it Bradlaugh?) may be excused for remarking that they read as though 'concocted by illiterate, half-starved visionaries in some dark corner of a Graeco-Syrian slum.'" As a result, many reviews were hostile, and Robert Graves was even twice sued for libel.
Graves is well known for his poetry, classical studies such as The Greek Myths; the historical novel I, Claudius; and his speculative though fascinating White Goddess. Less well known Joshua Podro was a journalist and prominent Zionist with expertise in ancient Jewish traditions. He and Graves also coauthored the wildly speculative Jesus in Rome.
Cloth is a bit rubbed; and the very scarce dust jacket has a few small splits (now protected by mylar). Previous owner's inked name on ffe.
Extra postage likely beyond typical $4 due to size and weight of volume.