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The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 4, 2006
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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His main thesis is that Jesus joined the messianic movement of John the Baptist and was baptised by him. Together they planned a joint rule over the 12 tribes with Jesus as a Davidic King and John as a priestly coruler. Tabor asserts that neither the Apostles nor the family of Jesus thought him divine. Tabor also asserts that Mary, the mother of Jesus was not a virgin and the real father of Jesus may have been a roman soldier named Pantara. Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters. The Oldest Brother, James took over the movement after the death of Jesus. And later, after the death of James another brother took control. It seems that preaching became the family business. Sound incredible? Well, Maybe. Lets look and see.
Unlike the Dan Brown Da Vinci Code, this book is based upon fact and is the result of 40 years of Tabor's labors. Most all of Tabor's assertions are firmly based upon material pulled directly from the NT and other well documented sources. Like the Q source. The Q source is the common material in Matthew and Luke but not found in Mark (the oldest of the Gospels.) Also in the Letters of James and the Didache. Mark, it seems does not mention Jesus after the crucifixion and does not speak of Jesus being "Seen" by anyone thereafter. While Luke and John being heavily crafted from Mark have embelished the story somewhat.
It seems it was Saul of Tarsus, better known as Paul that hijacked the Christian faith. Paul, while being a contemporay of Jesus, had never known nor had ever seen Jesus. He had lived most of his life in Rome. Paul received all has divinic information from a "vision". Paul's vision was not what Jesus had preached. Paul thought Jesus divine and that Mary had been an eternal virgin. Paul also wrote out the brothers of Jesus as leaders as well as John the Babtist. It was Paul's image of Christianity that finally made it into the canonized NT and what was then forever after known as Christianity. Meanwhile, in Judea, the romans systematically hunted down and killed all those who lay claim to the throne of David, including the family of Jesus, effectively wiping out the original Jesus movement.
I found the book to be immensely interesting and learned many facts I heretofore had not known. For instance, the manner of James' death and the persons responsible for it. Some of Tabor's assertions are not easily swallowed, like the father of Jesus being a soldier named Pantera and his grave having been found in Germany. And you have to be extremely careful in order to seperate the hard provable facts from Tabor's speculations. But if you are able to keep an open mind, the information he provides can be a revelation.
If you have already read "The Jesus Discovery", this book will not be so much of a shock. The underlying thesis and assumptions here are; that Jesus was a mortal man with a mother and a father. He had a message for all of mankind. He was killed by jealous and vengeful temple priests and his movement was "stolen" by Paul and his followers in Rome.
He does however propose some very controversial claims, such as Jesus had a paternal father in Roman soldier Pantera who was given mention by Celsus as he presents he learnt from Jesus' youngest brother Juda's descendents. I personally was not won over with this claim from this ancient antagonist to Christianity but regardless your position on these subjects this book cannot be passed by. It is just too powerful and wonderful to learn of Jesus' family especially His brother James who the New Testament describes as the elected head over Christ's First Church. Much like his contemporary Robert Eisenmann who is James' biographer, Tabor highlights the distinguishing differences between the Christianity of James to that of Paul who of course the Church has taken after for 2000 yrs of her History.
Tabors usage of 'Q' or Quell document asserting its existence I found to be a bit bothersome considering this has never been substantiated. This book is highly antagonistic toward the dogmatic Romanized religion and should prove to be quite a challenge to her divine magesterium...
One of Tabors thoeries which I have long suspected myself, is that the two double named Mary's at the Cross were in fact one Mother Mary the Mother of Christ and the Mother of at least five other children named in Scriptures as Jesus's brothers and sisters. He brings forth the issue of the addition made to the Gospel of Mark which we all have today in our Canon's inclusion despite there were translations which removed this 2nd c ending and it doesn't really take much stretch of the imagination to see how this could have very easily have been done by the copyists splitting mother Mary into two Marys, one being herself and the other being her sister who is curiously also named Mary and just so happens to have the same named children as those named in Scripture being Jesus' siblings. To my knowledge Salome is the only sister of Jesus that we know the name of from historical tests, and the one Gospel account has her named with these two Mary's. Historical writings reveal that Clopas was the brother of Joseph and according to Moshe Law the surviving brother is impelled to marry his brothers widow if there is no male child. This is called a Yibbum marriage and there is example of it in Scripture. One of the brothers of Jesus is named Joses which is short like Josy for Joseph. The naming a male heir after the deceased brother is required.
Another tug at the concious when reading the Gospels are the two lineages of Jesus. They never really made sense and we know that Christ Himself claims Davidic bloodline as recipient of the Promise to David. Tabor does do a very good job making his case in this regard.
His highlighting what the remaining Gospels record on who the women were at the Crucifiction is compelling and highly evocative work that draws the conciousness right back to the time of Christ in His authentic Jewish setting. Any and all students of religion need to read this work.
He also spotlights the mission of Jesus in His historical efforts in contrast to some highly mythologized beliefs that have crept into the Church and even become Dogma's of Rome.
Unlike DaVinci Code, some of these conspiracy theories-are not fiction.