Overall rating and opinion of "Misreading Judas" by Robert Wahler

Use this forum to discuss the May 2019 Book of the month, "Misreading Judas" by Robert Wahler
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Sahansdal
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Re: Overall rating and opinion of "Misreading Judas" by Robert Wahler

Post by Sahansdal » 02 Jun 2019, 21:33

esp1975 wrote:
24 May 2019, 11:04
I 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.
Esp1975,

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.

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Post by Sahansdal » 02 Jun 2019, 21:47

preethakum wrote:
25 May 2019, 06:04
Ever since I read the Dan Brown Novels, I have been intrigued by Religion and Christianity in particular. Although, non-fiction is not a genre I would be interested in, I would love to give it a read to know more about Judas and the history. It is quite interesting that the author has chosen a topic that presents such a drastic viewpoint to the one that is currently being followed. Kudos to the author for believing in his viewpoint.
Had I not been sure of myself, I would not have bothered to write it. It is a lot of work to write this kind of book. I am sure of it. This information is the period evidence we mythicists have been looking for to put Christianity away for good. The way is now clear for real teachings to take its place.

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Post by Sahansdal » 02 Jun 2019, 21:52

Sahansdal wrote:
15 May 2019, 22:51
VernaVi wrote:
10 May 2019, 17:02
I read this book very carefully, and although my review has not been approved or published yet, I give it 2 out of 4 stars. It bases its conclusions on an area of Gnostic literature which has not been validated by physical evidence or scientific proof. It expects the reader to blindly accept the wild theories posed by the author, theories that become wilder as the book progresses.For instance, he casts doubt on whether Christ was himself or James. His asserts that James is also Judas, while at the same time, he also thinks that Jesus was Judas. These statements are more than confusing for the reader since, by now, the author has turned Jesus into James, and Judas into James, and then into Judas. It also claims that James was the source of the concept of the virgin birth. I was grateful for my extensive background of research and study in this particular subject. I needed every bit of it.
There is a reason that Gnostic writings weren't approved or included in the Bible, they don't cross-reference correctly with other proven biblical works and evidence. Although I won't be recommending this book to anyone, it is good that it sparks debate and interest.
Verna, I really believe I was more clear than you say on Judas and James and Jesus as Judas. James was a real person in history. Same with John the Baptist. They have a reliable presence independent of the New Testament, which is NOT a record, but a position. Neither Jesus nor Judas is historical. There is not a single iota of clear evidence for Jesus. There is abundant evidence for Judas as James, and even before the Gospel of Judas appeared. Dr. Robert Eisenman showed that before I ever did.

There is no "proven biblical work" and no "evidence" for a Jesus Bible narrative. There is evidence, however, for a gnostic original which BECAME the Bible story. That is the Apocalypses of James mastership succession story.

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Post by Nivi Gideon » 04 Jun 2019, 16:44

Judas is possibly one of the most disliked characters in the Bible, with good reason ofcourse. It certainly will be interesting to read about the author's views on Judas that in some way save him from all the hatred and judgement. Can't wait to read this one

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Post by Sunday diamond » 04 Jun 2019, 19:57

I wish to also get the book. from a review here the author said judas was misu ndand to be a betrayer whereas he is not. one part i didnt agree with atall is that jesus 4is not the savour but judas

bdaamer

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Post by Sunday diamond » 04 Jun 2019, 19:58

I wish to also get the book. from a review here the author said judas was misu ndand to be a betrayer whereas he is not. one part i didnt agree with atall is that jesus 4is not the saivour but judas

bdaamer

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Post by Sunday diamond » 04 Jun 2019, 19:59

I wish to also get the book. from a review here the author said judas was misu ndand to be a betrayer whereas he is not. one part i didnt agree with atall is that jesus 4is not the saivour but judas

bdaamer

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Post by Kyoks » 05 Jun 2019, 01:47

The book clearly explains if Judas didn't take that action that most think was bad, then Jesus Christ wouldn't be killed for us and our sins.

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Post by Sahansdal » 05 Jun 2019, 06:56

Kyoks wrote:
05 Jun 2019, 01:47
The book clearly explains if Judas didn't take that action that most think was bad, then Jesus Christ wouldn't be killed for us and our sins.
This is the author. No he didn't. How did you get that?

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Post by Clemens Nickleby » 05 Jun 2019, 11:54

I have not read this book, and do not intend to for one basic reason. The whole underlying premise is sympathy for the devil. Anyone who had a dear and trusted friend who then betrayed them to their enemies, even though they were innocent of any wrongdoing, would be really clear that it was an act born out of evil. Just think in your own life how painful it was when you met with betrayal of some sort. The beauty of the gospel is that even Judas could have been forgiven. Peter was. Redemption came through Jesus' death and resurrection, not Judas' betrayal. True, Judas had a role, but it didn't have to be him and he could have been redeemed. Instead, he would rather die than repent. Think of a person who betrayed you, and they are there for all of us, and think of them choosing suicide over repenting and asking your forgiveness. Nothing mystical about that, or even praiseworthy. Just plain, sheer, evil. And I didn't need a new-testament bias for that analysis, just an understanding from my own experience of betrayal. Do we really want to posit that doing evil brings about good? Overcoming evil by doing good sounds more to the point. Jesus had a gospel, Judas didn't.
Truth is stranger than Fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't. Mark Twain

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Post by Sahansdal » 05 Jun 2019, 17:34

Clemens Nickleby wrote:
05 Jun 2019, 11:54
I have not read this book, and do not intend to for one basic reason. The whole underlying premise is sympathy for the devil. Anyone who had a dear and trusted friend who then betrayed them to their enemies, even though they were innocent of any wrongdoing, would be really clear that it was an act born out of evil. Just think in your own life how painful it was when you met with betrayal of some sort. The beauty of the gospel is that even Judas could have been forgiven. Peter was. Redemption came through Jesus' death and resurrection, not Judas' betrayal. True, Judas had a role, but it didn't have to be him and he could have been redeemed. Instead, he would rather die than repent. Think of a person who betrayed you, and they are there for all of us, and think of them choosing suicide over repenting and asking your forgiveness. Nothing mystical about that, or even praiseworthy. Just plain, sheer, evil. And I didn't need a new-testament bias for that analysis, just an understanding from my own experience of betrayal. Do we really want to posit that doing evil brings about good? Overcoming evil by doing good sounds more to the point. Jesus had a gospel, Judas didn't.
Well, if you aren't reading my book, and know nothing about my thesis, what makes you think you are qualified to comment here?

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Post by jlrinc » 06 Jun 2019, 06:12

Sahansdal wrote:
10 May 2019, 22:54
reneelu1998 wrote:
04 May 2019, 16:04
THarveyReadALot wrote:
03 May 2019, 18:32
I believe there's a reason the Gnostic Gospels weren't included in the Holy Scriptures/Holy Bible. The Scriptures are true; the Gnostic Gospels can't be proved to be true as far as I know. The Gospel of Judas is portrayed, if I understand right, as a Gnostic Gospel. Only the Scriptures can tell us the truth about Judas the disciple turned betrayer. And Jesus knew that Judas was going to be His betrayer.
Yeah I think your comment is true. The author may be relying too much on the credibility of the Gospel of Judas, which doesn't have the same credibility as the other gospels which were written as first hand accounts.
You are evidently not aware that the consensus view now is that none of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses. It would not be likely in any event, because life-expectancy in those days was something like 40 years. So they would have to have been little kids following Jesus around. Kids fluent and literate in excellent Greek, which is even less likely.
No, the life expectancy those days. Was not 40 years.. The average life expectancy was 40 years. What's the difference? The average life expectancy includes the high prevalence of children who died before turning 5. This brings the average life expectancy way down because children had a high likelihood of dying of diseases before antibiotics and vaccines were available. The truth is that if you made it to18 your life expectancy was about the same as it is now, high 70s and probably hasn't changed much in 15000 years. This 40 year old thing is a pernicious myth.How long did they expect to live on biblical times? There is a verse in psalms that says the number of the days of a mans life is 70 years and if by reason of strength what boast is there of that? So they expected to live to be about seventy or eighty. The gerousia of Athens at about the same time was a council of elders who were at least 60 to be eligible so they had about the same life expectancy. And modern archeological evidence points to the same.

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Post by Sahansdal » 06 Jun 2019, 09:29

jlrinc wrote:
06 Jun 2019, 06:12
Sahansdal wrote:
10 May 2019, 22:54
reneelu1998 wrote:
04 May 2019, 16:04


Yeah I think your comment is true. The author may be relying too much on the credibility of the Gospel of Judas, which doesn't have the same credibility as the other gospels which were written as first hand accounts.
You are evidently not aware that the consensus view now is that none of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses. It would not be likely in any event, because life-expectancy in those days was something like 40 years. So they would have to have been little kids following Jesus around. Kids fluent and literate in excellent Greek, which is even less likely.
No, the life expectancy those days. Was not 40 years.. The average life expectancy was 40 years. What's the difference? The average life expectancy includes the high prevalence of children who died before turning 5. This brings the average life expectancy way down because children had a high likelihood of dying of diseases before antibiotics and vaccines were available. The truth is that if you made it to18 your life expectancy was about the same as it is now, high 70s and probably hasn't changed much in 15000 years. This 40 year old thing is a pernicious myth.How long did they expect to live on biblical times? There is a verse in psalms that says the number of the days of a mans life is 70 years and if by reason of strength what boast is there of that? So they expected to live to be about seventy or eighty. The gerousia of Athens at about the same time was a council of elders who were at least 60 to be eligible so they had about the same life expectancy. And modern archeological evidence points to the same.
Itinerant fishermen didn't speak (or write!) the kind of classic Greek that the Gospel authors used. They were master wordsmiths, not experts with nets. No one knows who wrote the Gospels, all of them, even gnostic.

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Post by jhollan2 » 06 Jun 2019, 10:32

Setting aside the debate over religion which is inevitable with a book like this, I just didn't really like it. I gave it 2 stars in my review. The way the author makes the claim that everyone else in history is blind and missed this fact that is so obvious to him just struck me as cultish. Also the density of the text and the interweaving of sources and exposition made this book difficult to follow along with.

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Post by Debottam_55 » 06 Jun 2019, 13:24

Although I didn't read the whole book but I was really intrigued by the sample that was provided. I think this books covers a very sinister issue and has a modern approach to a medieval situation. Overall, this book should be a great read and I'm looking forward to it.
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