Quick, what do tennis star Andre Agassi and renowned conductor Zubin Mehta have in common? They are both Zoroastrians. What, exactly, does that mean? Well, according to Paul William Roberts, the influential marks of Zoroastrianism are still visible in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, despite the Roman Catholic church's assiduous efforts to erase them over the centuries. In Search of the Birth of Jesus
is a book of such stunning complexity and marvelous wit that to call it a travel book is to slight its profundity; to call it an exhaustively researched theological history is to deny the rollicking good read that it is. Roberts re-traces the steps of the Magi according to a tip in Marco Polo's Travels
, and the self-styled "good Christian" then commences dismantling every common notion of the Nativity story with an iconoclastic aplomb.
From Library Journal
Roberts (English literature, Oxford) has used a travelog from Persia to Bethlehem as a vehicle to set forth his views on Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. He traces their beliefs to Vedic India via Zoroastrianism and asserts that most elements of these religions have been added by clerics to institutionalize and to consolidate power. In his view, the Zoroastrian Magi were coming to assist one of their own persuasion-Jesus. Unfortunately, Roberts is untrained in the complex subject area he hopes to elucidate and is contemptuous of established scholarship. He picks and chooses among a jumble of anecdotal evidence, folklore, mystical literature, and casual observations and presents tenuous conclusions based on little solid evidence. He quite frankly admits, "I make no apology for presenting a history that fits my own needs." While the travelog part is lively and interesting, its mocking "humor" soon becomes irritating. Not recommended.Eugene O. Bowser, Univ. of Northern Colorado, Greeley
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.