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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CHRIST'S Ventriloquests
This book and and the author's forensic approach makes for compelling reading. Far from demeaning or derogatory,altough it may come as a shock to many, it gives a perspective of how christianity came into being. And for me, gave further confirmation of a long held belief of how mankind interferes with inate spirituality in teh guise of created religiousity. It enhanced my...
Published on October 17, 2012 by LITCRIT

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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Most Ambitious Christ's Ventriloquist Wannabe
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...
Published 4 months ago by M633


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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CHRIST'S Ventriloquests, October 17, 2012
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This book and and the author's forensic approach makes for compelling reading. Far from demeaning or derogatory,altough it may come as a shock to many, it gives a perspective of how christianity came into being. And for me, gave further confirmation of a long held belief of how mankind interferes with inate spirituality in teh guise of created religiousity. It enhanced my admiration of the historical and spritual Jesus and what he really stood for. there is some unecessary repetion but this does not detract from the overall presentation. Worth a read and for reference purposes.
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45 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul vs Jesus: Paul won!, August 20, 2012
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This review is from: Christ's Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity (Paperback)
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.
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53 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a pretty tough book for the Christian "faithful", August 26, 2012
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B. Speer (Auburn, California USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Christ's Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity (Paperback)
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?
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53 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New, scientific perspective on the creation of Christianity - you owe it to yourself to read this, April 1, 2012
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. Previously, the only available methods, which scholars have used, simply assumed the honesty-of-intent of all classical documents, especially of canonical religious ones, such as Paul's epistles, and the Four Gospels. Only now is it finally possible to penetrate deeper than that, to reach the writer's intent, and not merely his assertions, and to identify when this intent is to deceive instead of to inform. Whereas scholars have been able to discuss only the truth or falsity of particular canonical statements, it is now possible to discuss also the honesty or deceptiveness of individual statements. This opens up an unprecedented new research tool for historians, and Christ's Ventriloquists is the first work to use these new methods to reconstruct, on this legal/forensic basis, not just how crimes took place, but how and why major historical events (criminal or not), such as the start of Christianity, actually occurred.

The author explains: "What I am doing in this work is to reconstruct from the New Testament the crucial events that produced it, without assuming whether what the NT says in any given passage is necessarily true or even honest. Instead of treating the NT as a work that `reports history,' the NT is treated as a work whose history is itself being investigated and reported. Its origin goes back to this coup d'état that Paul perpetrated in Antioch in the year 49 or 50 against Jesus's brother James in Jerusalem, whom Jesus in Jerusalem had appointed in the year 30 as his successor to lead the Jewish sect that Jesus had started. The Gospel accounts of `Jesus' reflected Paul's coup d'état - not actually Jesus, who would be appalled at the Christian concept of `Christ.' That concept was radically different from the Jewish concept of the messiah, and Paul knew this when he created it."

My Thoughts: Zuesse first contacted me about 2 ˝ years ago to ask me to beta-read this book; unfortunately, I had a health crisis and forgot about it until recently, when I heard from him again that this book is due to be released soon. After apologizing for my oversight, I set out to read this book. In many ways, this book reminded me of "The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity" by Hyam Maccoby, a book where the author sets out to show that it was Paul who invented Christianity, not Jesus. However, Zuesse goes beyond this, to show how Christianity is nothing like what Jesus himself taught, nor it is anything like Jesus would desire; Zuesse shows that Jesus' message has been twisted, changed and corrupted into a completely different religion.

I was impressed by the work that went into this book, and think is will be an important step in helping people to realize that Paul is not the have-all and be-all answer to religion. Unfortunately, I think that the people who would most benefit from reading this book will likely refuse to do so, as it will threaten their faith and belief systems, and since their faith and belief systems are so weak as to not be able to stand up to any threats, they will therefore refuse to even acknowledge the existence of said threats, due to their fear. Or, at least, that is the only reason I can come up with for so many people refusing to read works that threaten their point-of-view. However, Zuesse had an interesting point to make in the book - are people worshiping Jesus, or are they worshiping the Roman Catholic church (which is the entity to have canonized the scriptures) and the scriptures they put together? If a person claims to be worshiping Jesus, then they owe it to Jesus to read this book and discover how his message has been corrupted by the people who wrote the Gospel accounts. But I digress....

Zuesse spends the majority of the work dissecting the book of Galatians in the New Testament, showing internal inconsistencies, as well as inconsistencies between what Paul says here and what he says elsewhere, as well as showing how he deliberately misrepresents passages in the Old Testament in order to fool Gentiles into joining his cult. Paul carefully constructs his argument, and then claims that the Laws put forth in the Old Testament - which were very clearly stated to be eternal and never to be added to or removed from - were now null and void by misrepresenting what, exactly, the Messiah of the Jews was and was meant to be. It's fascinating to watch the way that Paul twists and bends words and meanings. The argument that Zuesse puts forth is quite well-done, although I ended up wondering if all those who seek to worship Yahweh are going to have to radically change their lifestyles, as it seems the true way to worship Yahweh is through the laws and covenants of the Old Testament. Well, but you'll see what I mean if you have the courage or curiosity to read this book.
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28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Most Ambitious Christ's Ventriloquist Wannabe, August 21, 2014
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.

4) I believe reductionism is the greatest sin of all. Religious fundamentalism and scientific reductionism are the same species in different realms. They are the cause of war and devolution of civilization. This book is a good example of reductionism.

It's not Paul that wanted to rewrite history because he died for his conviction and, even though he is not perfect, he has a great deal of spiritual strength to teach faith, hope, love, and grace. It's Zuesse, with a tremendous ambition, to rewrite history. With this book, Zuesse wants to create an event that would change the civilization for the next 2,000 years. But if Zuesse is successful in changing the course of history, it would be a civilization where there is no love, no grace, no hope, and no spiritual enlightenment.

If Zuesse can analyze Paul based on the 2,000-year-old documents. Why can't we analyze Zuesse, since his book is fresh, his person is alive, and the evidence is right in front of us. If his conviction is real, he would risk everything, like Paul, to get his message across. His other books on politics didn't fly, yet he thinks he can pull the strings of Jesus with his reductionist mind.

I recommend the book as a representation of 21st Century reductionism.
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20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read, September 22, 2013
By 
H. Savel (Elizabethtown, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Christ's Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity (Paperback)
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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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Analysis of the Writings of the Apostle Paul Revealing the "Birth" of Christianity, May 7, 2013
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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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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've ever read on the subject!, June 9, 2013
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I've been reading several books on the origins of Christianity and the development of the Bible (both Old and New Testament) for about a year now. This is by far the best book I have read on such subjects. The author writes a very interesting and detailed analysis of Paul's letter to the Galatians. He did what seems to be the most logical thing to do in order to clarify the origins of Christianity, he started right at the beginning of it. I don't think there's a better way than to start by analysing the letters of the one who wrote the closest in time to Jesus. If only I could give it not 5 but 10 stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Case Dismissed!, November 27, 2014
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Many have noted the terrible writing but disorganized is a more accurate description. It reads like a stream of consciousness, one subject, then another, then the first, headings, new ideas, etc We get frequent ALL CAPS as if the reader couldn't possible discern the meaning otherwise. And then there's repetition. You read "in the days before anesthesia" then see it later in the same paragraph, then the next paragraph and the next page. You think that's it but no, we see it again and again.

The case of "lying" against Paul would be dismissed due to prosecutorial behavior. Paul is "charged" with misrepresentation, lying and wanting to "win" (another repeat). How is that different than "Paul said this but actually meant.. " or "although he didn't say it we can infer a motive by working backwards at things he criticized"? Courts do not convict because a prosecutor "knows" the defendant means something else. Then there's the Gospels. If written to further Paul's theology how are the contradictions explained? Easy. "They couldn't go 'too far' or 'you have to read it with the understanding that....' or 'perhaps it was a remnant of an actual saying'. Citing Acts for support is especially suspicious given the many contradictions with Paul's letters decades earlier. It's akin to saying that strangers are unreliable then citing their testimony as proof.

Religions rise for many reasons but a hoax is not one. The "Gospel of Christ" was an incremental process with many influences - internal bickering, socio-political-cultural mores, a genius who recognized that Judaism was a dead end and (I believe) a sincere belief by Paul. How likely is it that Paul would devote decades to an idea - real or imagined - he did not believe himself? Many have died for fascism, Marxism, racial, religious or tribal supremacy and virtually all "believed". But one small discussion was worth the price of the book. When he explains the Josephus description of the death of James by Anusus and evidence of Paul's letters it is clear that "Jesus" existed, that he lived and died a Jew and for two decades his followers were Jews. This clearly shows the late arrival of the Christ myth.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The case for the prosecution........., January 24, 2013
By 
Michael Mulqueen (Basel, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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Eric Zuesse applies the methodology of the analysis of documentary evidence (commonly used in legal settings) to the question of the "founding event" of Christianity. This results in a conclusion that the Jesus depicted in the gospels is not the same as the individual who may have preached in Palestine at that time, and that Christianity itself is a hoax, at least as far as it claims to truely represent the teachings of Jesus. Mr. Zuesse often uses the example of a court of law in presenting his conclusion. Unfortunately, while Mr. Zuesse spends some time describing his methodology and how other scholars have failed to correctly interpret the evidence, there is a lack of balance in the work. The case for the "defense" is never clearly articulated and we (as the jury in this trial) are left with only one possible verdict. While it might be unreasonable to expect any single book to be able to cover all of this vast topic, the inclusion of a short section or even chapter on the other side of the story would have been welcome. Nevertheless, this is an interesting hypothesis and hopefully one that inspires other scholars to respond
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Christ's Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity
Christ's Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity by Eric Zuesse (Paperback - April 30, 2012)
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