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The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? [Paperback]

Timothy Freke Peter Gandy
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Thesis--like it or not May 15 2002
By A Customer
Neither Christianity nor mysticism holds my loyalty, so perhaps I can at least claim not to have an axe to grind or theology to defend. I found the book utterly fascinating. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the historical foundations of Christianity, in Greek and middle eastern philosophies, and in general anyone who likes to ask questions about how belief systems get started. The picture the book paints of the early centuries of Christianity, with its disputing factions, persecutions, and changing political environment is excellent. It is instructive to realize that what is "gospel" now was controversial then--and the winners, who became the Roman Catholic church, wrote the history. Sometimes, in spite of obvious attempts to organize their vast source material, the narrative is confusing, but it is still a great read. The authors dig into a great wealth of sources which are hardly spoken of elsewhere. I find their thesis that the Jesus story was compiled from pre-existing mythology quite believable compared to the more traditional interpretations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Paperweight March 13 2002
By Caesar
As one reviewer commented, the book reads like a tabloid. It seems as though the authors are trying to make their research shocking by overwhelming use of exclamation points. In my opinion, it makes it seem less credible. The book is confused and hectic. The sections within each chapter are roughly a page long each, hardly enough for a detailed analysis of the points they are trying to make. Although for a lot of it, a detailed analysis would show that the authors have blatantly disregarded pertinent evidence that disproves many of their assertions. And somehow, they have managed to insert a quote from Celsus on almost every page, even though his original composition is completely lost. It's amazing that they use a "Pagan scholar" who is writing after Christianity to disprove a historical Jesus! Give me something besides misunderstood Plato quotes that predates Christianity. You can't use post facto observations to prove something, especially when the source is incredibly untrustworthy. It's like saying that Eusebius wrote a perfectly accurate, unbiased biography of Constantine the Great. NO!
The writing style is unfocused and irritating. There are hundreds of footnotes for each chapter, which makes it seem like it's well researched. It's certainly extensively researched, but the research is misguided. The book is useful as a compendium of quotations from the time of Jesus, but to use any of it as proof that Jesus never existed is an enormous leap of faith, if you'll pardon the pun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Death of Christian Exclusivism May 16 2002
By A Customer
Christian exclusivism will die a painful death. For Jesus to properly enter Western mythology, we must search for the original meaning behind Jesus' words and deeds. Freke and Gandy do a wonderful job deconstructing the Christian Jesus and offering a plausible alternative--the Gnostic Jesus. They exhaustively analyze ancient source materials and convincingly demonstrate the pagan basis for Christianity. The thesis is a fitting foil to the flatulent conservatism of N.T. Wright and other church scholars who would would have you believe that mind-numbing, redundant references to the Old Testament source materials will validate the literalist rendering of Jesus.
The pagan mystery religions, much like Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Sufism, seek Oneness with the Divine as their ultimate goal. With Freke and Gandys' stunning revelation, Christians--even literalists--can now be welcomed into this universal brotherhood.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Brave Book March 29 2002
Abandon all hope ye who enter here! This is one of the most dangerous books I've come across in a while and I urge all open-minded Christians to steer well clear of this tome lest they uncover the truth behind Christianity and perhaps even discover the God of the Universe who exists beyond traditional religion in the process!
Seriously, though, I found The Jesus Mysteries to be one of the bravest and most thought-provoking pieces of work I've come across in years. It is a lucid and exhaustively researched expose of the history of Christianity and its battles with Gnosticism put forth in laymen's terms that really gets the mind racing and the heart pumping. In it, Freke and Gandy make an excellent case for the idea that Christianity is actually a Jewish version of earlier Pagan Mystery Religions then in vogue in the Roman Empire with Jesus but a mythological character designed to reflect earlier Pagan mangod beliefs. They show--successfully, I think--that what started out as a mystical Gnostic Christianity was ultimately superceded by a Literalist Christianity (by which they mean Christians who intepret the Jesus stories as literal, historical events rather than mythological analogies and metaphors as did the Gnostics) that denied the very mystical, mythological underpinnings that created the movement in the first place. Their reports on some of the early church fathers and their complicity in destroying what they consider to have been the original "true faith" of Gnostic Christianity are brutal, especially in using these men's own writings and words against them, and their overview of the role of the Catholic Church in suppressing all belief systems that were at variance with their own is nothing short of savage.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A former fundy says: buy it!
This is a good, solid read replete with mountainous amounts of evidence to make one question the authenticity of the commonly-accepted "historical" Christ. Read more
Published on May 26 2002 by CrysAnne
5.0 out of 5 stars Christianity a copy of pagan cults, and a poor one at that
Bravo! This book is an amazing eye-opener.
Learn about Osiris, Dionysis, Bacchus, Mithras, etc. Read more
Published on May 10 2002 by shan1212
2.0 out of 5 stars Did He exist? Why the sudden denial, and from what source?
Read the Bible yourself, not this collection of accusations.
Consider for yourself the facts, how the Word has stood the test of time, despite all the attempts at attacking... Read more
Published on May 2 2002 by Darren Semotiuk
5.0 out of 5 stars A good fit
This book spoke to my spiritual side, answered a lot of questions and confirmed what I had already believed to be true.
Published on March 30 2002 by Lynda Burd
5.0 out of 5 stars What most don't have the guts to admit
The Jesus Mysteries is a wonderful piece of work. Freke and his co-author print and jusitfy beautifully what most don't want to admit--that the story of Jesus Christ may be the... Read more
Published on March 19 2002 by Amanda Januchowski
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Book
I found it a most interesting read. Very carefully done, very methodical development. Background and behavior of early phases of christianity detailed and material not often... Read more
Published on March 17 2002 by Donald A. Brodzik
2.0 out of 5 stars Conspiracy junkies unite!
This book is perhaps one of the biggest con attempts played on anti-religionists. The entire premise of the book is founded the authors attempt to stretch controversy so thin that... Read more
Published on March 12 2002 by John Zxerce
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in its discussion of the Mysteries, but . . . .
I agree with Freke and Gundy that Christianity drew heavily from the Mysteries. I have, in fact, believed this for some time, and had learned some facts concerning the subject... Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2002 by Alton C. Thompson
1.0 out of 5 stars Steer clear...WAY CLEAR of this one...
It's hard to know where to even start with this book. Two things are immediately apparent: 1. The authors have a huge chip on their shoulder and 2. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2002
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