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Christ's Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity Paperback – April 30, 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Hyacinth Editions (April 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615573010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615573014
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #762,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mat633 VINE VOICE on August 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I want to love this book because I love forensic study of the Bible and I want to accumulate some tools to argue against the fundamentalists. But it was a torture to get through this book because of the following reasons:

1) The arrogant tone of Zuesse is very disturbing to read. He seems to have little spiritual foundation to approach the thesis with humility. He set out to write a book to shock the world, claiming that all theologians and scholars have missed what he writes in this book. I want to read about Christ's Ventriloquists, but when I saw Zuesse wants to be one of them, I wanted to throw up.

2) Zuesse promised to be unbiased in his analysis but his writing turned out to be extremely bias against the New Testament. For example, he would quote the OT text about circumcision without questioning it's validity or the author's motive, but he questioned the motive of Paul who interpreted circumcision in a different way; in fact, he didn't just question Paul, he wrote as if he is in Paul's mind. He implied that today's psychology allowed him to do it, but today's psychology also shows that you tend to project your own mind to others. Thus the only way to know Paul's evil motives require a person just like that. Is Zuesse writing about himself? There is a Burmese saying, "It takes a snake to see the legs of other snakes."

3) This book can misinform any reader that doesn't know the Bible well. By questioning the validity of certain books in the Bible and the authenticity of certain versions, Zuesse has created for himself the freedom to pick and choose whatever passage he wants and ignore the rest as invalid. What's the difference between Zuesse and the fundamentalists? The same cherry picking reductionism, only from the opposite dimensions.
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I love comparative religious history, and this book speaks what many do not dare: modern Christianity is more of Paul's making than Jesus'. Still, it gets a bit tiresome when the author is defending himself as he says what he fears others will criticize. Just say it, man! Jesus is a far more appealing advocate for God than Christianity's most prominent early persecutor! Is that so hard to say, or so hard to understand?
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Format: Kindle Edition
First, a declaration of biases: I'm a former CBCTV investigative journalist turned media strategist—I freelanced for 'the fifth estate,' the CBC's flagship investigative show, from 1992 to 2001, specializing in intelligence/counterintelligence and war crimes matters. I'm a former 'cops 'n' courts' reporter, who's covered investigations and cases at trial from war crimes in Bosnia and Nazi-occupied Belgrade to homicides in rural Ontario, moneylaundering and white collar crime, including work amongst the Cree First Nations' sentencing circles, from 1990 to present.
A thrice-published Random House crime novelist, I'm at work on two TV crime miniseries, the first about the massacre of the Romanovs and a Canadian/UK effort to rescue them in June/Jluy 1918 (amongst other adventures of Canada's real-life Indiana Jones). The second's about a remarkable young American woman who was at once a CIA asset and deeply involved in Cuban and Latin American left-wing politics: depending on who you believe, she may have danced the twist with Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City ten weeks before JFK was assassinated in Dallas.
Religiously, I'm a lapsed Irish-Canadian Catholic with a deep background in apologetics and epistemology; I was raised by a Jesuit-schooled former Franciscan/IBM logician-engineer. I'm at present a practitioner of mindfulness meditation.

review
Christ's Ventriloquists is hardly light reading; like a skilled prosecutor, Eric Zuesse has marshalled an investigation that's at once historical and logical, as well as, in my opinion, utterly original.
I've never read anything like Ventriloquists in four decades of wide reading in Church history, theology and philosophy ranging from Thomist to Heidigger, Maritain and Zizek.
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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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