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The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? Hardcover – August 15, 2000
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From Library Journal
Freke (a philospher and author of books on spirituality) and Gandy (who is studying classical civilization) believe that first century Jewish mystics adapted the potent symbolism of the Osiris-Dionysus myths into a myth of their own, the hero of which was the Jewish dying and resurrecting godman Jesus. Therefore, the story of Jesus is a consciously crafted vehicle for encoded spiritual teachings created by Jewish Gnostics. We are unaware of this, they claim, because the Roman Catholic Church destroyed evidence of the connection between Christianity and the pagan mysteries. They make their case by offering an examination of mystery religions, especially Greek, pointing out the many parallels between them and what they see as the Gospels! message about Jesus. Freke and Gandy are familiar with a significant amount of recent biblical scholarship, though they rely mostly on Elaine Pagels!s work on the Gnostics. This book will obviously be controversial, but the authors are quite informed, as demonstrated by their extensive notes and bibliography. A list of related web sites, a Who!s Who, and an index add to the book!s usefulness. Recommended as an important book in the debate on the historical Jesus."David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“A wonderful blend of detective story, historical research, and clear thinking, The Jesus Mysteries explains in accessible form what has been known to scholars for centuries. The time for the inner mysteries of Christianity to be brought out of the closet is long overdue, and this book is a powerful and courageous voice for the cause.”
-- Roger Housden, author of Sacred America and Sacred Journeys in a Modern World
“The Jesus Mysteries -- ‘Book of the year.’ ” Daily Telegraph
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Fascinating information here about the kaleidoscopic backdrop of the emergence of the institutional church and how it went wrong so early. My only criticism is that there was so much new information to digest. Maybe the authors could have been more judicious in the examples of Gnostic myths they discussed, but they chose to err--understandably--on the side of too much rather than too little. Take your time with the book and it will be time worth spent.
The book was a highly enjoyable read, it's well-written, and it should incite every reader to ask deeper questions about the history of Christianity.