Esp1975,esp1975 wrote: ↑24 May 2019, 11:04I just finished the book. I am still working on gathering/organizing my thoughts well enough to write a thoughtful full review.
What I will say is that I felt like I should have been the target audience for this book - I am someone who has studied not only multiple different religions/mythologies, but also religion as a concept and organized religion as a social construct. I watched (more than once) the National Geographic special on the Gospel of Judas. I've watched specials on the Dead Sea Scrolls. I can't stand Dan Brown, but did read Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the work he based The DaVinci Code on. So this subject matter is right up my alley.
And yet, reading it, it didn't feel like I was the author's target audience. It felt like it was aimed very specifically at religious academics, which I am not. I work in academia, but am not myself any kind of academic.
As I read the book however, I found I had to fight myself from wanting a write an academic critique of the author's arguments. In most cases it was not to refute the arguments, but I wanted to see more supporting evidence, I wanted clearer lines drawn. I had all sorts of questions about why certain things were presented in the way they were, and would have liked to see some careful critique of the other interpretations of these scriptures, instead of simply dismissing them out of hand.
For the lay reader, I think this book would have been better served to have some information about the Second Council of Nicea, which basically put together the current Bible as standard, from the very many versions that were around at the time. That council chose to include some things and exclude others, so kind of a reminder that that our modern Bible has always been a political work, in addition to being a literary and religious one.
I have seen comments on this thread about Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John being "first hand accounts" compared to the others, which they were not. (This is not actually a fact that is in dispute, even among Christian scholars. We can date these accounts and the other accounts we have. And those dates were occasionally referenced in the book, but not made explicit.) Throughout, there were similar bits of history and context of which I am aware that I would have liked to have seen referenced, that I think would not only have made the arguments stronger, but also made the book accessible to many more readers.
This also means that in sections where I didn't myself have knowledge like that, I think there might be, and I really would have liked it.
Like others, and I believe as the author intended, since there was much reference to Eastern Mysticism, I got a strong impression of Buddhism. There were moments that deeply brought to mind Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, and the story of the Buddha in the garden.
I was actually more fascinated by the ideas of Jesus as a cover James and the concept that Jesus himself was never a real person, than I was of Judas as a cover for James, though that did lead me to wondering who the author thought James's Master was (maybe John the Baptist?). Or was James more like Buddha in the way he came to enlightenment/Master status?
In the end, I thought there were some strong arguments and some weak arguments in the book, but in all cases, I really would have liked to have seen more of the supporting evidence, especially to make this book more accessible to the lay reader. I find the purpose of the book, to make us think critically about our religious institutions and writings, and to be open to new information, extremely important, and I really wish it had been more accessible.
For myself, I would give this book three out of four stars. The subject matter is one I find fascinating, and as I don't have time to read the Gnostic texts or the Hebrew ones (or at least the ones that might be available to me), I really enjoyed the full passages pulled from them. I have enough of a background and understanding of the subject matter that while I was frustrated by the lack of more supporting evidence and clear lines, I was still able to follow the arguments and understand where they were coming from.
However, I would be very careful who I recommended this book to. I have a few friends who would be able to access it on the level that I did, but know many others who might find the arguments presented compelling, or at least incredibly interesting, who would get lost fairly early on because they do not have the background necessary to follow the book without the additional information.
I want to hear what you think of my first book, The Bible Says Saviors -- Obadiah 1:21.
It is longer and gives more grounding. I use other scholars more. The Way is Sant Mat. rssb dot org I have to recommend any books by or about Masters at scienceofthesoul dot org. Many titles written by real living Saviors.
The comments you make are why I referenced other works so much. This was only to present the NEW information about Judas.
I think James was covered by Jesus and Judas, and a host of other lesser characters like James Zebedee and Lazarus. I think 'Jesus' was a fictional composite character made up from details of the birth and death of James and John the Baptist, and the trial of James.