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51 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A serious study of how the christian beliefs were developed, July 23, 1999
This review is from: The Jesus Legend (Paperback)
Professor Wells exposes quite persuasively the sham made by some catholic and protestant Bible comentators in order to hide the historical unreliability of the New Testament and their characters. People tend to believe that something which everybody is familiar with has to be true, but even at the end of last century people and scholars satirized Darwin because of his unbiblical version of the creation of man - well, nowadays, people don't think still that Adam and Eve were real historical characters. Scholars of every scientific field have shown the Bible to be innacurate in several ways, including in History, yet the christian Churches still resist to give up some pieces of our History which were written exclusively on the Bible and that have no sort of consistency whatsoever. I think that the historical pursuit of thr real Jesus or the legend that was built around a purely mythical Christ will have a meaning so great in the field of History, as the discoveries of Galileo and Darwin had in the field of Science. Wells builds his argument about how the legend of Jesus developed by trying to see the implications of the theological evolution seen if we put the early epistles of Paul, the sayings attributed to the Q gospel, the synoptic gospels and the Gospel of John in their correct chronological order (as I have ordered them). Then we can see how the notion of the existence of Jesus Christ changed in this short period of 50 or 60 years: from a supernatural risen Christ with no specific historical existence in Paul and a kind of Cynic teacher in Q appeared several inconsistent stories about a Son of God cruxified by Pilate. The writers of the gospels weren't ancient historians as many people believe - their writings reflected the problems of their small community and the theological goals of their leaders: for every problem which aroused a christian prophet built a saying of Jesus or a miracle made by him which supported his own point of view on the issue. And so appeared so many contradictory sayings of Jesus with no specific chronogical order or geographical background in the gospels. If we believe that the gospels show us the real teachings of Jesus, then we had to say that Jesus at the very same time was: a Jewish who obeyed the Law, an anti-Semitic leader, a miracle-worker who acted for the crouds and at the same time a man who tried to act anonimous (but how can a great miracle-worker who acts for the crouds be anonimous?). Also, the writers of the gospels show us a group of 12 incredibly stupid apostles and don't date the Passion at the same time. Many of the events described in the New Testament appear to be things just build to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies. Yet, I think that there were several things forgotten by Wells: the inconsistent dating made by the gospels of Jesus supernatural birth and the inconsistency of the Passion events in the Roman world background: Pilate was a cruel man and wouldn't defend a man accused of social disorder; also, Pilate wouldn't deliver Jesus to Antipas, the lord of Galilea, because he had no kind of power in Jerusalem. Also, Wells should have given some further discussion of the thesis made around the Dead Sea Scrolls and the book can, perhaps, confuse a reader somewhat less informed in this matter because of its many citations of other scholars and the several critics made to their books. Wells finishes his book criticizing the distortion of the Scriptures made by christian Bible commentators for support of their conservative ethics: they only pick up some epic phrases, get rid of some complicated sayings by explaing that they're only methaphorical or with no significant meaning and convince others of a great, uniformal moral written on the Bible. Yet, there is no uniformal moral on the many books of the Bible, because they were written by several different people, in many different backgrounds and in the course of many centuries. However, we have to resist this view of the great morals given by the Bible, because the teachings of Jesus and the Jewish prophets are not as pacific as they say: in the Old Testament God says to Moses to kill all the homossexuals, the worshippers of idols, the adulterous and maim the criminals, then God tells David to massacre every living person of the unjewish population in the land of Israel - including women and children; finally, Jesus prohibits the divorce between christians and says he is the only way to God and that the Jews will all be condemned to Hell - some epistles even say that everyone who doesn't worship Jesus Christ is a son of the Devil. Clearly, the precepts of the equality of all men in God's eyes were only meant to christian believers and not to unbelievers (who are described as the assassins of Christ and sons of the Devil). I believe that most people never read one piece of the Bible, because if people did so they wouldn't still think that Jesus was a peaceful man and that the Bible teaches only good things which can be applied in our real lives.
Carlos madeira 20th of July of 1999
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Initial post: Jan 11, 2014 8:22:22 PM PST
Roo Bookaroo says:
Ricardo:

Simply brilliant. You've understood the intent and the method of Wells far better than many of the English-language reviewers posted on Amazon.
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