3 out of 4 stars
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Barbelo: The Story of Jesus Christ was written by Riaan Booysen. The book was published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. The company is located in North Charleston, South Carolina. Booysen has written another novel entitled Thera and the Exodus. Both books are currently in eBook format and print.
Rian Booysen was raised with Christian beliefs since he was a very young boy. His skepticism concerning Jesus began one day when his minister referenced a text in the Bible that was inaccurate. Since discovering the discrepancy, Booysen has been on a mission to prove that Jesus Christ is indeed a myth and everything that he has been taught is a lie. After extensive research, Booysen lost faith in Jesus Christ and ultimately religion. Booysen touches on controversial topics such as Jesus’ appearance and his relationship with the Apostle John. Was Jesus an unattractive, short creature who was prone to great violence? Were Jesus and John involved in an illicit relationship? Booysen shares his theories on these concepts and so much more.
Barbelo: The Story of Jesus Christ is a very well-written novel. The book can also be used as a reference tool. The author’s attempt to show an alternative way of thinking about Jesus Christ is contentious; however, it is very engrossing. It made me ponder my own beliefs at times. The author’s references are pristine and the bibliography leaves little room for argument. I checked many of the author’s references and resources and they were all accurate. I must point out that I especially appreciated that the author included links. By doing so, it makes it easy for the reader to cross-reference his theories with various scriptures throughout. In this way, the reader never gets confused while reading. The reader also realizes that the author has done extensive research to prove his ideas.
Although Booysen’s novel is interesting, it is not a new one. These ideologies have been written about and discussed extensively in various texts for centuries. Also, Booyen’s opinions are very biased. The author claims that he is not an atheist. Yet, some of his theories are a transparent attack on Christianity. In addition, there were parts in which the author’s repetitive style became to be very distracting. For instance, after discussing a topic thoroughly in one chapter, it is later referenced again in other chapters. This slowed the flow considerably and took away from the overall reading experience.
I did not always agree with Booyen’s theories. But, I enjoyed reading about another perspective on this subject. His research was detailed and well-organized. I am not a theologian, so I cannot say if the author’s theories are right or wrong. Therefore, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I did not give it a 2 star rating because the book is very informative and readers who share Booyen’s agnostic beliefs will enjoy reading this novel. Furthermore, I couldn’t justify giving it the ultimate 4 stars because of the many repeats which was a bit redundant. Also, the author promises the reader an objective viewpoint. However, the book is extremely one-sided. I have read many types of religious texts and scholarly journals. I have also studied religion in search of answers to my own questions. There is more than one way to view religion. Unfortunately, the author missed the opportunity to appeal to all readers.
Overall, this was an interesting book. I would recommend it to open-minded individuals interested in reading about another perspective on the Bible. I would also recommend it to anyone who has ever questioned religion in general. This book will definitely captivate those who choose to read it.
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