31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Interesting Angle on the Jesus Debate,
By A Customer
This review is from: One Jesus, Many Christs: The Truth About Christian Origins (Hardcover)
After a broad overview of the various views of Jesus in the early church, the majority of Riley's book is occupied with explaining Jesus' appeal to first and second century pagans. The life of Jesus follows the heroic pattern so familiar to them in the stories they had heard all their lives. Like Achilles and Heracles, Jesus learns through suffering, brings liberation to his people, and wins eternal life. But the real appeal of Jesus is that the gift of eternal life--once reserved for semi-divine heroes and sage philosophers--is now offered to even the most lowly in society. This makes Jesus not only worthy of emulation--but worth dying for. This leads Riley into an in-depth analysis of the reasons for Rome's especially virulent persecution of the early church. I found this part of the book a bit tedious, but overall the book is highly accessible and provides welcome insight to any individual in the process of forming his or her own personal christology.