- Paperback: 360 pages
- Publisher: Harmony (September 25, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0609807986
- ISBN-13: 978-0609807989
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (303 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? Paperback – September 25, 2001
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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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Top Customer Reviews
If you assume a 'one' in 'two' chance that Jesus experienced a similar event as Osiris-Dionysus myths claim, then, the odds are simply 50-50; but carry that out to the fiftieth-power and you have 10 to the 15th power. That's a one followed by fifteen zeros to one chance that Christianity was based on historical facts and not a rehash of the mystery religions. These astronomical odds led this reader to agree with the authors theory that the oldest Christians were Gnostics and that the "Literalist", which only later evolved into Orthodox Christianity, were in fact the real heretics.
Hence, calling Christianity 'new' is itself a misnomer because it has its roots deep in Gnosticism, which in turn was a refinement of the still older 'mystery' religions that dominated the east Mediterranean for over a thousand years prior to that. All mystery religions had their own descending-dying-ascending god-men. 'Saviors' were ubiquitous, every ancient culture claimed their own so it was only natural the the Hebrews would do likewise. And so they did.
Profound and outrageous as this may seem but let the facts stand and speak for themselves. The authors press their argument by rearranging the New Testament according to their probable order in which they were written, and by pointing out the relatively slow evolution of this new religion. It becomes simple logic to see the developing history of Jesus from a mythical historized Son of God once you accept the fact that the Gnostics created the Christ. Fact is, I began to realize that the Pagan theology was far more developed than later orthodoxy and how the pagan 'mysteries' influenced and still permeates Christianity even today. Saint Paul was (I believe) originally preaching Gnosticism before the orthodox theologians sanitized his letters but the original gnostic message may still be found, once you know the code.
The take home however is that the Jesus 'mystery' is no longer a mystery at all because now I know -- 'Gnosis' for everyone -- who cares to know -- the truth. Read this book and find out. For the more advanced and venturous student I will even suggest a more scholarly book Iesus Deus: The Early Christian Depiction of Jesus as a Mediterranean God; however, be forewarned that you will be in the deep-end of the pool, so, take your life-preserver and eye drops for late night reading. The rewards however will be worth it because M. David Litwa (author) places the New Testament within the cultural context -- by comparative analysis -- in which it was written. Together, these two books will help in understanding and therefore appreciate what really happened two-thousand years ago. This book gave me the insight into the ancient world and I must admit that I have never been a Christian but at least I know have a good idea from where and how it evolved. I could also, very easily, become a Gnostic Christian simply because they would NOT demand that I believe mythology, but only expect me to grow in wisdom and understanding as a human being. Thank you.
Bill B Gnostic
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.