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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Vikings visit the ports of Imperial Rome.
Jesus marries the daughter of a Druid priest while agent for the family business in Britain.
Jesus converses with Ptolemy of Alexandria, the great ancient astronomer.
This tale outdoes "The DaVinci Code" in its absurd anachronisms, historical implausibilities, and tortured plot turns. If I could rate this book no-stars I would.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
I realized at some point that I was reading in the dark and was so involved...that I had forgotten to turn on the light. When I was about half way through, I realized that I had not thought about anything else since I began reading.
The author has made a complex subject a worthwhile reading experience by showing Jesus as a real man who had feelings-emotions with which the reader can identify. There were several times that I stopped reading...to think for a few minutes---those ah-ha moments. Neil Elliott provides a bridge and an opportunity for a contemporary reader to make a genuine connection, spanning the years. Clever man!
We continue to look for meaning and to deal with haunting questions in our lives over two thousand years after the events in this book. The realization that we still deal with similar issues is significant to this reader and makes this a volume that is very difficult to put aside-even long enough to turn on the lights.
I am a Christian. A relationship with Jesus changes lives and removes guilt, thereby providing meaning in life and answers to the haunting questions. The reaffirmation in the book that we have a new beginning each day brings smiles and peace. The reinforcement that we are all sons and daughters of God is a point the author makes well.
Thanks to the author for sharing this beautiful book. He has a real gift. The journey was a joy.
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56 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book misrepresents itself as an engagingly written version of the story of Jesus Christ.
I bought this book because of the many favourable reviews on the American amazon.com, and the comments there which led me to expect exactly that - an engagingly written version of the story of Jesus Christ.
I'm afraid that this is not true.
To make matters worse, the book lends itself to such deception, with notes about how the author has attended a course at a seminary, and with an acknowledgement which mentions God in every sentence.
The book is well written, and fairly engaging, but it contains such distortions and inaccuracies that one must assume Mr. Elliott is simply riding on the coat-tails of the Christian story to cash a quick buck.
For example, it suggests that Jesus did not die when crucified, and that when he was pierced in the side by a SPEAR and "Issued forth blood and water", he was simply "not reacting". Amongst other things, it also notes that Jesus stole, and was married to the daughter of a Druid Priest. All these make the scholarship and the other details of the time period within the book rather suspect - what is fact, and what is fiction?
It is not altogether reprehensible, I assume, because such use of the bible story cannot be an infringement of copyright, considering when it was written, but - next time please write your own story.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Oh, what can I possibly say about this book? There is so much in here for discussion but one central theme prevails: Christ wasn't about the bricks and mortar of a church, nor was He ever hung up on silly doctrines.

First I think I need to very briefly lay out my own view of The Holy Bible - NIV - Containing the Old Testament and the New Testament. I see it thus: 1. as a remarkable history book and, 2. as a document of moral instruction based upon pure logic and common sense. I also view Jesus Himself as, among other things, a visionary and a teacher. And that's really all I need to say about that to set up my comments.

Here we have, beyond a book, more of an exposition and demonstration, or in "Bible-speak," a revelation of the ethical facets of Jesus Christ -- Jesus gave rise to modern Western thinking, turning the corner from Old Testament custom. Here, His miracles are shrewdly dealt with (not by way of hackneyed scientific hypothesis, thank God!), but the focus is clearly upon Jesus the Man rather than on His Trinitarian connexions.

The story which Elliott conveys is concerned with the true, the probably true, and the possibly true, the latter being informed speculation about the "lost" (undocumented) years of Jesus Christ. Consequently, I'd say that this particular account would represent a huge disappointment for the Mormons as they discover that, according to Elliot and his Holy Co-writer, Jesus was never in the Western hemisphere hanging around with allegorical Native Americans and other cultures for all that time as is purported by The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. But that leads to yet another topic altogether.

But generally speaking, most fans of The New Testament: English Standard Version will be pleased as punch for the confirmation that their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was actually a very nice fellow... someone who could, say, effortlessly sit down with a guy like Barack Obama to successfully resolve a momentous dilemma over a couple of microbrews - in many ways, a regular guy and a remarkable mortal. (By the way, Elliott never mentions Obama - that goofy thought came out of my own diminutive head.)

I do still like to believe (somewhat in contrast with the book) that Mary and Joseph were very stressed parents who sucked in their collective breath as the family tomcat scratched the youthful Jesus who subsequently pointed His finger at the critter, rendering it to a greasy spot on the floor -- sort of like Mr. and Mrs. Kent with their own secretly adopted special and supernatural child. But possibly like author Neil Elliott, I could be slightly wrong, particularly on these more insignificant aspects of Jesus' early life.

And this work is equally a biographical assessment of those with whom Jesus interacted; His parents, His extended family, John the Baptist, the Apostles, and so on and so forth. Jesus could hardly tell His own life story absent the involvement of these key personalities.

So many of the speculative aspects of commentary here represent an extrapolation of what we DO know about Jesus and which Elliott reports about Jesus' life during His undocumented periods. In other words: "What would [or did] Jesus do?" Well, we do sort of know how He would react and respond given typical sets of circumstances.

I don't assert that Jesus was predictable in any way like some dull, contemporary Conservative slug, dressed in a navy-colored suit and black wingtips. No, Jesus was far too innovative a thinker (in fact, omniscient) to ever contemplate anything other than to lead His people in the right direction; however, if He was a Liberal at times then he was only occasionally a radical one as exemplified by His handling of the Moneychangers at the Temple.

Jesus' ideas and actions marked the very genesis of contemporary Western thinking, all firmly grounded in pristine logic and flawless ethics. Even so, in those dark days of Roman Colonial and Pharisaical rule, to keep one's mouth shut typified sage counsel which Jesus chose to routinely ignore and with which He never concerned Himself. Jesus always took the high road (as Elliot points out, chiefly through numerous monologues and dialogues), frequently demonstrating openly about how one should react to injustice, a fact which soon brought Him under the marked scrutiny of ruthless and corrupt earthly authorities. Romans, Pharisees, Democrats, Republicans... they all react in a like manner when their silly, fundamental conventions are challenged by sound reason. And that's precisely what happened to Jesus. And that's the nature of the story which Elliott relates here (on behalf of Jesus Christ, or so he says, and I have no particular reason to doubt him.)

Jesus' life narrative is imparted here in First Person, in a very straight-forward manner, and I can hardly reveal spoilers since if you ever attended Sunday School as a kid (or thereafter) then you already know the highlights as well as end of the story (or "the beginning" as some would astutely point out.) Elliott's mortal conclusion transports us to that mournful day at Golgotha but, as most Christians have been taught since that time, Jesus' death served a specific purpose and in a left-handed sort of way yields a happy ending.

In summary, if you're heavily into denominational church doctrines; the mincing of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic texts, and; rites, rituals, and vestments (so many of which were cleverly thought up by St. Augustine of Hippo long after Jesus' day), then this book will likely set you off like a Catholic in an Appalachian Snake-Church (noting nothing wrong with either of those two fine denominations.) But if you personally try to maintain an open mind, generally think highly of Jesus Christ, and can enjoy a compelling but still fluid read, then this "autobiography" will probably gratify whatever lofty expectations you might harbor in this instance.

Highly Recommended!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2003
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I can't recommend this book highly enough! It satisfied me at so many different levels. To be entertained, to laugh and cry, to learn, and finally to be inspired - to find all that in one book is the ultimate reading experience. I was hooked from the moment I picked it up. For someone who's not religious nor even a Christian, I was surprised to find myself so engrossed in a book about the leading figure in Christianity. But to me, it wasn't so much a book about a religion as about a man and his life in a distant time and place. And a life that could easily be transposed into the present. I heard my grandfather's voice echoing from the pages, that gently sarcastic humour, the unique turn of a phrase. As Jesus recounted his early years, I could imagine myself experiencing the same feelings and doubts and joys. Were they real? Who knows. Who cares. The story by itself would have been enough to qualify this book as a good read. The rich historical background that was woven throughout the narrative made the book truly outstanding. Neil Elliott is one of the best writers I've come across in a long time. He doesn't try to use gimmickry or stylistic tricks - just clear and honest writing that comes straight from the heart.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The author attempts to portray a sort of "oral history" of Jesus Christ - as if He were telling you about his life. Although obviously not based entirely on the doctrine of the Christian church, it is nevertheless fascinating on several levels. You can read this as purely a historical account of the times. A young man of moderate wealth may have indeed traveled far and wide through what is now modern Europe and Britain. Everyday details were obviously well-researched and the reader is immersed in what it might have been like to live in those days. The state of religious beliefs is deeply explored as is the political situation of the time. It is hard to communicate how well the author worked all this into the storyline, but I was left with a great understanding of the forces at play during the life of Christ. You could read this as an insight into what might have motivated Jesus to do and speak what he did. Again, this is not Biblical based but is certainly interesting given the many ambiguous statements Christ makes in the Bible..."what is truth?" is one of them. In the book Jesus seems to be feeling his way into what he is called to do, and is not too happy about it, although he realizes the importance of his message. Ironically, the book is clouded in the details of Christ's actual death and resurrection. The reader is left to guess and perhaps ponder on what really happened; however, there is a strong message of faith. Indeed humor, pathos and enjoyment are all to be had in this book. Overall, a great read! The only downside is a problem with paragraph formatting - a wee bit confusing, but not a major sticking point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I respected the author's bold attempt on creating a life for Christ that may have been far different than the sterile reading of the Gospels. Jesus' musings, frailties and lack of confidence as well as his perceived lack of clarity was touching. It especially endeared me to read him basically saying "What the heck am I really doing?".

We will never be clear on the life of this man until we pass ourselves. I know that there was a human side to Christ, and if anything, it made me respect him more.

To me, this book was a courageous move to see behind the dogma.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
A fascinating portrayal of the human side of Jesus. A great exploration into all aspects of his humanity. Well written, intensely researched, easy narrative to read and entirely thought provoking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a very well written, interesting and thought provoking book about what Jesus' life might have been like. I could hardly put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
I found this book a non-intimidating way to learn more about the life of Jesus. Reading the bible was a bit overwhelming but Mr. Elliott took this complex story and turned it into a believable and interesting chat. I would recommend it to families for story hour and anyone else that would enjoy a story about a truly magnificient gentleman that walked among us long long ago.
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