No such thing as the ‘gospel truth’

Geoff Ward
5 min readNov 22, 2023

Jesus Christ is revealed to be a second-century fiction by a remarkable new analysis of the source texts of the Bible which seeks to revolutionise our understanding of the origins of Christianity and Judaism

People are as fascinated as ever by the story of Jesus but the Christian Messiah is never coming back because he never existed in the first place, says Dr Paul McGrane.

The long-standing English idiom ‘the gospel truth’, taken to mean ‘the absolute truth’, and derived from the alleged record of Christ’s life and teaching in the first four books of the New Testament, is no longer tenable (if it ever really was).

This is confirmed unequivocally by Mistaken Messiahs: The Real Truth about the Ancient Roots of Judaism and Christianity (Singular Books, October 2023), in which textual scholar Dr Paul McGrane explains cogently how Jewish messianic belief found its way into the New Testament and Christianity, how the Jesus of the Gospels was ‘a fiction disguising a more mundane reality’, and why we cannot trust anything the Gospels say about this character.

I might add here that the word ‘gospel’, from the Old English gōdspel, meaning ‘good news’ or ‘good story’, should now be rendered only as ‘fake news’, or simply ‘God-sell’.

Mistaken Messiahs is the second volume in McGrane’s meticulously researched and iconoclastic trilogy A Bonfire of Inanities: the Bible dismantled and, unusually for non-fiction works, I’ve found them extraordinary page-turners simply because of their penetrating scholarship and the ubiquitous effect of Christianity’s deep cultural embedding.

Read my review of the first volume of the trilogy, Ancestral Tales: The real truth about the ancient roots of Judaism and Christianity (Singular Books, June, 2023), here.

McGrane has applied his doctoral (Oxon) expertise in textual analysis to biblical texts in a search for rationalist solutions to fundamental issues of Christian belief. In doing so, he has formulated a vital new paradigm regarding chronology, people and events in the first century AD. But the tragedy is that this paradigm, as convincing as it is, has a seemingly impregnable structure of universal belief and faith to assail.



Geoff Ward

Writer, journalist, book editor, poet, musician and tutor in literature and creative writing (MA and BA Hons degrees in English literature).