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The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 233 customer reviews

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Length: 400 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tabor, chair of religious studies at UNC-Charlotte, offers a bold and sometimes speculative interpretation of the historical Jesus and his family, beginning with his paternity. Evaluating several possibilities, Tabor concludes that the most historically plausible claim is that Jesus' father was neither God nor Joseph, but another man, possibly a Roman soldier named Pantera. He also argues that Joseph likely died when Jesus was young, leaving Jesus head of a household that included his six half-siblings. Like many scholars, Tabor emphasizes that we must understand Jesus in the context of first-century Judaism. After Jesus' death, his brother James took over the titular family dynasty. James championed a version of the faith quite different from Paul's, and, although James was more faithful to Jesus' original teachings, Paul's Christianity won. Tabor not only challenges Christian dogma, he also makes some assumptions with which not all scholars will agree: he places a great deal of emphasis on the hypothetical text Q, calling it "our most authentic early Christian document." This book is accessible and sure to be highly controversial, attracting the attention of reporters, spiritual seekers, historians and fans of The Da Vinci Code. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Startling claims in nonfiction works about Jesus and early Christianity are hardly new (hello, Holy Blood, Holy Grail), but Tabor, an academic and archaeologist, makes a solid case for the dynastic aspects of the Jesus movement and the importance of James the Just, Jesus' brother, during the period when the early church was forming. That said, the structure of the book seems scattered. Tabor begins with several exciting archaeological finds with which he was involved, including the discovery of a cave that might have been used by John the Baptist and the very recent discovery of a tomb with ossuaries that could be linked to Jesus' family members. This fascinating narrative hooks readers but doesn't quite meld with the rest of the book. Another problem is his emphasis on the genealogies of Jesus presented in Matthew and Luke, which are discounted by many scholars. Yet Tabor dares to go where few authors do: he takes on the subjects of Jesus' earthly paternity (including the case for a Roman father), his relationship to John the Baptist as partner rather than forerunner, and Jesus' expectations for his movement (as opposed to the direction in which it was taken by Paul). This breaks new ground on the journey to find the historical Jesus, and it is certain to prompt much discussion--and not a little controversy. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1862 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 074328724X
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 4, 2006)
  • Publication Date: April 4, 2006
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,356 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

James D. Tabor is Professor of Christian Origins and Ancient Judaism in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he has taught since 1989. Previously he held posts at Notre Dame and William and Mary. He holds a Ph.D. in biblical studies and early Christianity from the University of Chicago and is an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian origins. The author of several previous books, he is frequently consulted by the media on these topics and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In response to the person who accused this book of being `flash over substance' and basically a Da Vinci Code rip off, I would say that they probably didn't read the book (Actually, I know that they didn't since the review is dated about a month before the book's release). The Jesus Dynasty is completely unrelated to Dan Brown's book, advocating an entirely different thesis. Tabor states this plainly in his preface and goes on to say of the Da Vinci Code, "while gripping fiction, this idea is long on speculation and short on evidence." The theories that Tabor proposes in The Jesus Dynasty are based entirely on an historical-critical examination of the surviving evidence of Jesus, his family, and early followers and what Tabor sees as the most likely interpretation of that evidence. Tabor brings to this endeavor 40 years of study on the topic at hand and is more than qualified to write this book. One reviewer asserted that `If not for "Da Vinci Code," this tripe would never have even been written.', but I can say as someone who has known Dr. Tabor personally for 8 years that the ideas presented in this book long predate and are not at all dependent on the Da Vinci Code or the pseudo-history of Baigent et al.

The Jesus Dynasty is Tabor's attempt at reconstructing the life of Jesus and his family. In many ways his attempt is quite daring and his ideas unique. The book will no doubt offend many who will not judge the book on its scholarship but will dogmatically reject what it says based on the beliefs which they bring to the book. On the whole, Tabor's attempt is believable, putting Jesus and his followers squarely in the historical context of first century Judaism. Some of the book's claims will certainly be a surprise to many readers.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dr. Tabor asked me to let him know what I thought of the book when I responded to an announcement he sent, so here we go. This is an excellent book with a few "maybe" spots. It presents a good historical background, in some ways reminiscent to Crossan and Reed _Excavating Jesus_, and very easy to read for most people. I will recommend the book, although I am not convinced fully about several of his arguments.

He does support some of my own ideas and teachings and so I am biased. One is that Yeshua was a real claimant for the Davidic throne. He makes it clear that Christianity has misrepresented the actual historical events and intentions of Yeshua, and follows a mythologized religion developed by Paul of Tarsus who never knew Yeshua in the flesh (or otherwise, IMO). The idea that Yeshua's movement was supported by a dynasty is not a secret to anyone familiar with the term desposyni (and I am not talking about "Grail" "DaVinci Code" "stuff"). There are many points to explore and consider in the book but I will mention only a few.

For me the most interesting argument is a double Davidic lineage, from Yosef and MIRYAM! I have been quick to point to the obvious failure of tracing a legitimate Davidic line through Yosef and God. Jeconiah (Y'konyah) disqualifies Yosef's entire branch of the family. I figured that the Lukan geneaology was another crap shoot attempt. In spite of my willingness to accept that Yeshua claimed legitimacy as a Davidic king, I could not remedy two bad geneaologies. But Dr. Tabor offers a solution to the problem via a good explanation of descent through Miryam.

He makes an extremely interesting case for Pantera (mentioned by Celsus and Toldot Yeshu) as the possible father of Yeshua.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an important book by a first rate archeologist and biblical scholar. Focusing on the family of Jesus, Tabor probes his genealogical antecedents, the contours of life, his personal relationships, mission and subsequent family history. The product of some 40 years working in the field, knowing the primary languages and studying the texts, Tabor investigates Jesus' genealogy, coming up with an innovative way of reconciling the different accounts in Matthew and Luke.

Tabor also provides a fresh perspective on Jesus brothers and their role in Jesus' life. Tabor argues that Clophas (Alphaeus), Joseph's brother, following Jewish law, marries Mary after the death of Joseph and has children with her - four half-brothers (who are named) and at least two sisters. This also allows us to see that Jesus' (half)-brothers are also members of his inner circle of disciples, something Tabor flags as "perhaps the best-kept secret in the entire New Testament" (p.165). I personally found this intriguing and his solution helps resolve a lot of puzzles.

Tabor traces the close connections between the missions of John the Baptizer and Jesus himself; probes the identity of the "beloved disciple;" examines alternative sites for Jesus' crucifixion; and discusses the meaning of "being raised on the third day." There is lot of very important material to reflect on in these chapters as Tabor probes the political aspect of Jesus' mission. One of the most intriguing discussions centers upon why the role of James has been obscured in later Christian tradition. We are only now coming to realize his importance within early Christianity, as the leader par excellence. Tabor investigates what we now know ofJames, asking such questions as: Who was he? What were his beliefs and practices?
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