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The Secret Legacy of Jesus: The Judaic Teachings That Passed from James the Just to the Founding Fathers Paperback – December 21, 2009
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“Many books are informative; this remarkable book is also important. Rev. Bütz traces an ‘underground stream’ of Jewish-Christian (Ebionite) affirmation of the humanity of Jesus--from his family and original apostles through nearly two millennia, culminating in Freemasonic traditions of the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution of the United States.” (Margaret Starbird, author of Magdalene’s Lost Legacy and Woman with the Alabaster Jar)
“I just read Jeffrey Bütz’s latest brilliant work and am more convinced than ever that America is the New Jerusalem. Bütz lays out clearly and convincingly that the original teachings of Christ, as handed down by Jesus’s brother James, impacted Freemasonry. When the Freemasons threw their support behind Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and others, they were able to manifest the greatest expression of a democratic republic this planet has ever seen: the U.S. Constitution. This book is superb!” (Robert R. Hieronimus, Ph.D., author of Founding Fathers, Secret Societies and United Symbolism of Am)
“The Secret Legacy of Jesus is a major contribution to the study of the historical Jesus. Bütz manages to deal with extremely complex phenomena yet retain an easy reading style. Such an accomplishment is made even more challenging by the scarcity of facts surrounding the Desposyni, which makes this book as much a mystery solver as a historical document. One of the great joys of reading this book is that Bütz gives us a sweeping panorama stretching across two millennia. This is a must read for anyone interested in Christianity.” (Dr. James Gardner, author of Jesus Who? Myth vs. Reality in the Search for the Historical Jesu)
“What a pleasure it was to read The Secret Legacy of Jesus! It is well written, unconventional, conversational, and engaging. His tone and relaxed writing style convey the very tolerance and universalism that he sees in early Christianity. This is an important addition to the growing body of literature on early Jewish Christianity, a subject that has been heretofore largely ignored.” (Keith Akers, author of The Lost Religion of Jesus)
"While evidence for an unbroken tradition is tenuous at best, Bütz's book provocatively reminds readers of the persistence of non- and even anti-Pauline types of Christianity; for spiritual seekers, scholars, and open-minded Christians." (Library Journal, Jan 2010)
" . . . a pick for any spirituality collection including secret societies and Christian history." (The Midwest Book Review, Apr 2010)
"Butz has uncovered details that other authors have missed . . . (Nexus New Times Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 4, June/July 2010)
“Bütz . . . is eminently readable and accessible to nonscholars while being thorough in [his] research. [He] raises the specter of a revisioned Christianity and challenges readers to rethink the nature of both orthodoxy and heresy.” (Publishers Weekly)
More About the Author
He is the author of "The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity" (Inner Traditions International, 2005), which has received critical acclaim as the best book on Jesus' brother James. His latest book is "The Secret Legacy of Jesus" (Inner Traditions, 2010), which has been called "the new definitive work on Jewish Christianity."
Rev. Jeff has also written a screenplay on James for Hollywood producer Harvey Rochman and is featured in the new groundbreaking Robert Orlando film on Paul and James - A POLITE BRIBE (www.apolitebribe.com). He is an ongoing participant in the Mount Zion Archaeological Expedition, one of the most important archaeological digs in Israel, and a participant in many inter-religious dialogue groups.
Rev. Jeff's website: www.thebrotherofjesus.com
(Author photo by Joy Beth Holley)
Top Customer Reviews
The idea that a suppressed tradition could "be recovered and used to bring about the reconciliation of Christians, Jews, and Muslims throughout the world", is one that immediately sets my ears perking. "The Secret Legacy of Jesus" by Jeffrey Bütz promises just that. Since the church I belong to has long been passionate about bringing about such a rapport, I immediately began promoting it for a book study. Having just finished the book, I agree that some of its insights could aid in bringing about peace between the religions -- if only we could get the ears of the right wing extremists, both Christian and Muslim. That's a big if.
However I found myself gripped from start to finish, partly (at least) because of Jeffrey the author's leaps of faith over rather vast abysses that left me dizzy, but since time, heretic hunters, book-burners, and the destructive mayhem of conquering armies have destroyed the stepping stones, such leaps were the only way to get to his goal. Looking back, it was part of the fun.
That said, there are some big problems with the book, some of which come from the author's uncritical reliance on Hugh Schonfield. On page 252, he states that the Nusairiyeh can be "directly traced back to the earliest Jewish Christians." Bütz quotes Schonfield: "Their existence, as well as their name, remains... a link with the past which should not be ignored." This is sloppy scholarship on Schonfield's part. The name has nothing to do with Nazarenes, as I presume Schonfield implies.Read more ›
One of the great joys of reading this book is that Butz gives us a sweeping panorama stretching across two millennia demonstrating how the central issues inherent in Jesus' philosophy and ministry were kept alive even while the religion that kidnapped his name sought to obliterate all traces. Butz moves us through the Essenes, Gnostics, Ebionites , Nazoraeans, Elkesaites, Mandaeans, Nestorians, Manichaeians, into Muhammad, Islam, The Knights Templar, and Freemasons, tracing the common threads and demonstrating how "the Way" was kept alive and nourished.
One of the many characteristics of this book that I admire is the reliance on Hugh Schoenfield's work. Schoenfield was a major biblical scholar of the mid 20th century who wrote more than 40 books and is best known for "The Passover Plot" and "The Jesus Party." While these two books took some liberties with the facts to posit an interesting theory, they earned Schoenfield an unfortunate disregard by the traditional scholarly world, yet many of Schoenfield's ideas and insights have held up, and his other works, though less well known, were major contributions to the field. Butz manages to mine this ignored treasure trove.Read more ›
As someone who has long been interested in the role that James and Christ's family members played in the early days of Christianity, I found myself unable to put this book down. The amount of historical research that Rev. Butz gathers together is staggering, but the onslaught of historical data never turns the book into a dry scholarly tome. Rev. Butz is a lively writer who paints a convincing portrait of the Jewish origins of Christianity and the historical reasons that this early Jewish movement, known originally as Nazarenes and then as Ebionites, was eclipsed by the Gentile Church.
But what is most important about Rev. Butz's approach is that he is a sincere man of faith seeking answers to timeless spiritual questions. Rev. Butz's vision of Christ is that of an authentic believer attempting to answer the ultimate question raised in Pilate's conversation with Jesus -- "What is truth?" And the answers he finds shed light on the deep connections that bind Judaism, Christianity and Islam together through the centuries.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jeffrey Butz's Book "The Secret Legacy of Jesus" is a splendid book: thoroughly and amazingly researched, clearly and spellbindingly written, and revealing answers to... Read morePublished 16 months ago by wayne claeren
I find the idea interesting, but the scriptural justification is way too facile. I'd like to see a good many more biblical scholars identified and a lot less certainty expressed.Published on January 14, 2014 by Rags
Reading this book, I was underlining, checking the notes, ordering more books or researching them on line. Read morePublished on November 22, 2013 by Amazon Customer
The whole New Testament makes much more sense after reading this book. I would recommend it highly to Christians and Jews.Published on September 19, 2013 by oyinbo55
I did not read the book in entirety but only about half in a bookstore. I would not buy the book because I was so utterly disappointed. Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by shemayah phillips