Until the publication of this annotated edition, Thomas Paine’s third part of “The Age Of Reason” was extremely rare and almost unknown. Titled “Examination of the Prophecies,” the book examines all the supposed prophecies of Jesus in the Old Testament alleged by the evangelists of the New Testament. With great wit and penetrating logic, Paine showed that not one of the Old Testament passages cited had anything to do with the Christian’s would-be Messiah. Paine appears to have been the first writer in English to suggest that Jesus was not an historical figure.
Frank R. Zindler’s marginal notes and commentary examine the Greek and Hebrew texts of the verses being discussed. They show that Paine, who knew no ancient languages and knew of none of the important biblical manuscripts that would be discovered after his death, was astonishingly correct in his critique.