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Eric Zuesse is a winner of the Mencken Award for investigative reporting. His previous books include IRAQ WAR: The Truth, and WHY THE HOLOCAUST HAPPENED. PRE-PUBLICATION ENDORSEMENTS of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: “A winner.” — Bruce Chilton, author of Rabbi Jesus, and Director of the Institute for Advanced Theology at Bard College “My skeptical ear detects a very distinct ring of plausibility in this gripping tale. ... provocatively interesting, ... and forcefully written.” — Richard Dawkins, Oxford University and author of bestsellers The Selfish Gene, and The God Delusion “Great writing; great forensic investigation.” — David Davis, participant in the Jesus Seminar’s discussion group “This book is an absolute must-read for anyone investigating the origins of Christianity ... insightful, well-written, and powerfully informative.” — Joe E. Holman, author of Project Bible Truth “Presents a side of Paul that the general reader of the Bible, or even the scholars, miss.” — Oswald Schrag, Emeritus Professor of Religion at Fisk University, Fellow of the Jesus Seminar, and member of the Westar Institute “It works for explaining Christian origins. ... Paul has to do away with [Judaism’s demand for] circumcision. That is so unambiguous.” — James Crossley, Sheffield University Professor of Biblical Studies, and author of Why Christianity Happened “An open-minded reader/juror will come to the conclusion that [Paul] is guilty of inventing a new religion, illegitimately appropriating Jesus.” — Abe Van Luik, Ph.D., former Christian fundamentalist “It is surprising to me that this view of Paul has not been previously written. ... I love your boldness.” — Reverend Steven Michael Smith, Colona United Methodist Church, and a participant in the Jesus Seminar’s discussion group
This book is a valuable insight for people interested in the subject of the origins of Christianity and antisemitism . I have read many books on these subjects but this one is the best and most thoughtful and courageous. Most highly recommended!
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary eBook version of this text from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from the author: "Christ's Ventriloquists" is a work of investigative history. It documents and describes Christianity's creation-event, in the year 49 or 50, in Antioch (present-day Antakya, Turkey), 20 years after Jesus had been crucified in Jerusalem for sedition against Roman rule. On this occasion, Paul broke away from the Jewish sect that Jesus had begun, and he took with him the majority of this sect's members; he convinced these people that Jesus had been a god, and that the way to win eternal salvation in heaven is to worship him as such. Paul here explicitly introduced, for the first time anywhere, the duality of the previously unitary Jewish God, a duality consisting of the Father and the Son; and he implicitly introduced also the third element of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost.
This work also explains and documents the tortuous 14-year-long conflict Paul had had with this sect's leader, Jesus's brother James, a conflict that caused Paul, in about the year 50, to perpetrate his coup d'état against James, and to start his own new religion: Christianity.
Then, this historical probe documents that the four canonical Gospel accounts of the words and actions of "Jesus" were written decades after Jesus, by followers of Paul, not by followers of Jesus; and that these writings placed into the mouth of "Jesus" the agenda of Paul. Paul thus effectively became, via his followers, Christ's ventriloquist.
A work such as this can be documented and produced only now, after the development (during the past 70 years) of modern legal/forensic methodology.Read more ›
Been seriously studying the Bible and scholarly books on the Bible for decades. Even taught Bible class in Catholic Church until the rape scandels became so common and personal studies showed milleniums of opposing the principals of Democracy in preference to monarchies.
As a structural (retired) engineer I am not the dullest bulb on the block. This book is very difficult to read without going back over and over to be clear on all the progressive proofs presented in legalize. This is a strong objective method. Perhaps lawyers will find it easier to understand.
For me I find the premise interesting and important to say the least. Some books take a week to read. This may takes months if you are determined to understand the points as they are presented.
My God if this hypothesis is correct the progression of society has been raped more than all the wars put together. Paul is presented as totally corrupting the basis of Jesus's teaching. If there is a God how could He permit this? Most of the time that question turns on us but this is way past monsterous. No single human has conned the world anywhere near the scale of Paul? Read at your peril.
If your faith renders you immune to facts jus skip this book anyway. As Pontius Pilate said to Jesus, "what is truth"? If this is truth we are unhinged by faith. So many suffered for the actions of one ambitious man?
This is a really beautiful piece of literary analysis that goes far beyond mere scholarship. Usually, non-believers see the biblical texts as pure mumbo-jumbo, while believers have an infinite capacity to accommodate whatever discordant elements they find. As a result, the numerous contradictions that fill both Testaments are always ignored. Even the christian fundamentalists have to accept that there are things in the Bible that do not make sense...
What if this wasn't true? What if the texts really made sense? The author applies this methodology to St Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. And the result is devastating. Everything fits in defining the biggest case crime scenario of all time: the making of Christianity out of thin air.
If I was a believer (which I no longer am), honestly, after reading this book I would throw my christian faith down the sink. Look at this (Galatians 1.15): "God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me". Paul, St Paul, Paul of Tarsus, a mere mortal, simply claims that he was predestined to be the bringer of the Gospel. Wow! That's huge, dude! Obviously, that makes sense if you want to emphasize the fact that your authority was previously granted to you before to the men that physically knew Jesus. But theologically this is a bomb in a nutshell: God, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit... and Paul! One wonders what theologians are paid for...
In any case, this an amazing book. I only regret having a mere five stars to rate it.
The author dissects Paul's Letter to the Galatians by applying forensic methodology and ultimately concludes by designating the events, circumstances and players involved in shaping the early Jesus-sect of Judaism which, the case us made, ultimately culminated with the singular moment that changed Paul's message, and thus gave birth to the new religion of Christianity.
I was initially put off by repetitive arguments becoming shoe-pounding the table. However, I later worked through these arguments as the author's way of beating back 2,000 years of indoctrination. The points could have been established without te cumulative arguments perhaps with one more edits prior to publication. One is left with the impression that time pressures may have forced a premature release in these aspects.
I am yet unsatisfied with the author's statements about Jesus and what Jesus' reactions to Paul's gospel would be/have been. Those arguments need to be better laid out instead of, or in conjunction with, the repetitive arguments comparing Galatians and the other Pauline Epistles. Otherwise, I'm left using the author's methodology against those blanket statements. Basically, the reader is left to making sweeping inferences concerning what Jesus' positions would be or were, merely because Jesus was a Jew and, presumably, a strict adherent to Judaism. I would like to see those arguments better laid out and replacing some of the repetitive points about forensic methodology and the Galatians - remaining Pauline letters substantiations of the author's logic. Then, I could give a 5-star rating instead of a 3-1/2 - 4-star rating based solely on effort and workmanship.
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