Free chapter from my book as a PDF

When my first book went out of print, the rights reverted to me so now I can do whatever I want with it. I’ve so far decided against self-publishing it, but after blogging so much about William Lane Craig’s dishonesty, I’ve decided it would be helpful to publish one chapter as a free PDF. The chapter is titled “The Pace of Legendary Development.”

A couple people have told me this was their favorite part of the book, especially the first six pages, where I document how Christian apologists have misused the work of A. N. Sherwin-White to claim the Gospels could not possibly be legends.

This particular bit of apologetics is actually one of the things that got me into writing about Christian apologetics. My first real encounter with Christian apologetics was finding a copy of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ in my church’s library as a teenager. Strobel’s claims about Sherwin-White (which he got from William Lane Craig) really stuck with me. I was already inclined to be skeptical of miracles, but also thought, “wow, how do you explain that?”

Well, my freshmen year of college, when I had access to a full-blown university research library, I got a copy of Sherwin-White’s book and found out the “explanation” was that Strobel’s claims about him simply weren’t true. Strobel’s claims are really so inaccurate that I think the charitable assumption is that Strobel never read Sherwin-White, and was mislead by Craig (whose claims are somewhat less inaccurate, to the point where you can say they’re merely misleading.)

At any rate, I was mad about having been fooled and wanted the world to know about it. Hence one (though not the only) motivation for writing my book. It was also when I first began to suspect Craig of dishonesty, though it would be a few more years before I became really confident that Craig’s many misleading statements are intentional.

P.S. – If you read the chapter, you may only want to read the first six pages. Everything beyond that feels like a massive exercise in overkill when I re-read it now. The same is true of the book generally, which is why I’m reluctant to reprint it. But the full 20-page chapter is there to read if you’re curious.

  • Ed

    Man, I’d love that entire book in e-form! (both books, actually — new and old)

    And I’d pay a printed book’s price for each in Kindle format (.pdf kinda sucks on a Kindle)…

  • Brian

    I have to reread your book again. I bought and read it a few years back (that long?), but it’s been sitting on the bookshelf for a while….

  • josh

    I think the chapter is quite nice Chris. I don’t see it as overkill, (caveats that I don’t know how it fits into the whole book), given that so many Christians argue along these lines. People just can’t believe how gullible or how willing to lie or how likely to exaggerate and misremember
    other people (or themselves) can be. Then there’s the special pleading ‘Oh but a tiny fringe group of Jews 2000 years ago wouldn’t believe silly crap without good reason!’

    I wonder how many people have known chronic liars. I’ve known a couple and while they weren’t prone to making up miracle stories, I think that’s mostly because they knew such things wouldn’t be readily accepted by their audience. It seems like in the right religious context, and that could include the liars themselves believing in the religion, that kind of person could easily engender a host of miracle claims and revelations.

  • Ed Babinski

    Famine is something God can’t do much about, he can’t gently blow some clouds in from over the ocean so that they deposit their rain on the drought-stricken land rather than deposit their rain in the ocean. He can’t make manna and quail appear anymore, oh but God CAN help us find our car keys and pass footballs, ALL THE TIME apparently, since you hear of such tales relatively often. And Catholics pray to a saint and find their car keys.

    • Ed Babinski

      I meant that in the sense of people being able to spot miracles everywhere. So also with legends and people’s willingness to believe them.

  • mnb0

    A late reaction, as this chapter left me speechless. If any christian in Europe tries to defend the historicity of Jesus like that he/she will be met with Homeric laughter.

  • William Burns

    Google docs won’t let me read your pdf because I’m signed into my email. Cute.

    • Chris Hallquist

      Because it’s a non-Google e-mail?

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