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The Lost Sutras of Jesus: Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of the Xian Monks Paperback – Jan 26 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Ulysses Press; 1 edition (Jan. 26 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569755221
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569755228
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 19.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #751,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Thomas Moore is a psychotherapist, writer and lecturer who lives in New England with his wife and two children. He has published many articles and is a popular lecturer in the areas of archetypal and Jungian psychology, mythology, and the arts. Moore lived as a monk in a Catholic religious order for twelve years. He has a Ph.D. in religious studies from Syracuse University, an M.A. in theology from the University of Windsor, an M.A. in musicology from the University of Michigan, and a B.A.in music and philosophy from DePaul University.

A member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Associations of Religion, Ray Riegert has written for newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. He is the editor of "The Lost Gospel Q" and "Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings," and the co-author of "The Gospel of Thomas."

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An interesting history, and potentially an inspiring series of ancient texts, sadly limited to a few small selections. It would have been much better to offer the entire text of the scrolls, so readers could determine for themselves their overall importance and meaning, rather than to cherry-pick from them.
The history section, too, is rather spartan and gives a taste of the rich story, but not enough to warrant the price of the book itself. It could easily have been made into a rich, exciting story - instead it is simple, direct, but too brief and ultimately unsatisfying. There are more questions asked after the reading than are answered by it. What did these early monks believe and what were their sources? How did their Christian faith collaborate with Buddhist and Taoist beliefs? What happened to the early Christians in Xian and other parts of China? Where are the scrolls now? Are there alternate translations? What does the stele say? And where can it be seen?
Because of the brevity, this book ends up on the "pop religion" category instead of where it should be: a serious work on an unknown but fascinating piece of religious history. The sutra selections come across as bumper-sticker slogans instead of inspirational texts. Overall an unsatisfying work.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book! It is well written and consists of different sections. One section documents how these remarkable scrolls were created and how they were lost to history and then rediscovered.Another section presents the translations of the scrolls with insightful commentary by Thomas Moore. Another section presents Prayers from the scrolls. The teachings and Prayers in the scrolls are remarkable for their blending of Eastern and Western religious ideas and for their gentle and wise portrait of Jesus.At 140 pages it is a rich little book and well worth it but it left me wanting more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Nice Intro; little depth Feb. 25 2005
By Phylos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a grad student at Univ. Chicago in the early 80s, i played around with the translation of the Jesus Sutras from the Japanese explorer Sakao's transcription -- the only available Chinese text at my disposal back then. It has been an area of study that has continued to intrique me ever since, and i frequently follow the research.

My initial sense from the Riegert's rendition is that it is a quick popularization following on the heels of other more rigorous and better introduced books. Even the title is misleading... it is not like these texts have been "lost" for all these centuries and recently found! Nor does the book really "unlock" any wisdom per se. It is that sort of language and introduction that lends itself to my criticism of a popularization. While it is a fine introduction, the reader interested in early Chinese Christianity, the fascinating story of monks from the Church of the East finding emperial accomodation in Tang China, and the unique syncretic nature of the Jesus Sutras with Taoist and Buddhist ideas would do better with Martin Palmer's Jesus Sutras. Martin was also the individual who deciphered the old spy maps and clues from classical texts to eventually locate the ruins of the primary Christian monastery at Da Qin.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Weak introduction to fascinating subject. Sept. 11 2005
By David Marshall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
If the improbable, romantic history of Christianity in China doesn't convince you that "truth can be stranger than fiction," what can? Last year I visited the lovely stone pagoda outside of Xian, what remains of the oldest Christian complex in China, where an ancient stone telling the story of the first Christians was found four hundred years ago. Poetic Chinese Nestorian texts blending Buddhism and Christianity were later discovered in caves hundreds of miles towards Afghanistan along the Silk Road. After the long hike to China, the participants in this early meeting of East and West deserve two things: a thoughtful and informed introduction, and the chance to speak for themselves.

Riegert and Moore provide the latter, but not the former. The second half of this book consists mostly of exerpts from the various discovered texts. These are fascinating and often beautiful; sometimes leaning towards Gospel, sometimes towards dharma, at times agreeing with both, occasionally with neither. I have a copy of the Nestorian scroll; difficult Chinese, for me at least, but the translation here seems fairly plausible. While it might be too much to hope for a copy of the original in this popular treatment, I wish they had at least said where they obtained their tranlations. They are quite different from those in Palmer and another available on-line, but no explanation is given of where they came from.

The texts are fascinating, poetic, and often beautiful. By contrast, Riegert and Moore might have written the introductions in a couple afternoons, and drummed up the research for them in a few days. It is not clear that the authors knew a lot about China, or Nestorian Christianity(making them sound like members of the Jesus Seminar), though it is obvious they were fond of Buddhism.

One of the book's key errors appears culpable. The authors claim to be offering "1300 year old scrolls" from China. No hint is dropped that the texts they offer might differ in character. But in fact, the Nestorian stone is 1250 years old; the scrolls are more recent. (According to Palmer. The authors do not argue with him; they just fudge the distinction between the stone and the scrolls. As I recall, Samuel Moffett, whom the authors quote, also points out that the stone reveals a more orthodox Christianity than later scrolls.) The authors are either simplistic, or disingenuous, to confuse later syncretism with the first Chinese Christian text, which appear pretty orthodox.

While I think his enthusiasm for karma and other dubious ideas is naive (see my review in Books and Culture), Martin Palmer's The Jesus Sutras is a better and more interesting book. (Perhaps because it was written for love, while I rather suspect this short, artsy little volume of having been written for money.) There is room for more books on the subject, but I hope the next person who takes it on will approach the interchange of syncretism, dharma, and Gospel, with deeper and more critical thought.

author, True Son of Heaven: How Jesus fulfils the Chinese Culture
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Rich Spiritual Blend of Christian, Tao & Confucian Thoughts Oct. 15 2004
By Erika Borsos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Fascinating religious scrolls were discovered in caves in Xian, China at the turn of the century. They were disseminated to museums in France, Britain (UK) and into private collections and not translated for many years. The political upheavals in China left the remaining texts safe ... until 1998 when the monastery where they were stored was discovered. This small volume is a gem that includes translations of the scrolls, although high-priced for only 138 pages, the information contained within is well worth reading. Part I describes the historical background of how Christian monks from Persia in 635 C.E. traveled 3,000 miles over the Silk Road to China. They were honored by the enlightened Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty, who recognized the wisdom of the Christian teachings which he called "The Luminous Religion". He had the monks write down their teaching and included it in the Imperial library that contained 200,000 volumes of scrolls, one of the most substantial places of knowledge in the world. Close to a 1,000 years later the Chinese found the scrolls and built a monument, which at the top had a cross rising from the center of a lotus blossum. On the stele was carved the teachings of Christianity, Taoism, and Confucianism. In the early 1900s, a Taoist priest/monk discovered the caves where the original manuscripts were laid ... he devoted his life to preserving the caves and their contents.

Amazingly it was a Hungarian Jew, Sir Aurel Stein, who grew up in Britain, obtained his Ph.D. at age 21, was raised as a Christian, who brought these texts to the world's attention. Later he received a knighthood and honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge. A French archeologist, Paul Pelliot, also deserves credit for his outstanding translations of the numerous scrolls that he took back to the Bilbiotheque Nationale in France and for which he received honors later in life. The book does indeed fall short in providing enough of the translated scrolls themselves, there are only just over 40 pages devoted to this alone, but the overall research and information contained within had my undivided and full attention. This is a most highly recommended book. Erika Borsos (erikab93)
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Thin, partial selections, too many questions unanswered Aug. 6 2004
By Ian Chadwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
An interesting history, and potentially an inspiring series of ancient texts, sadly limited to a few small selections. It would have been much better to offer the entire text of the scrolls, so readers could determine for themselves their overall importance and meaning, rather than to cherry-pick from them.
The history section, too, is rather spartan and gives a taste of the rich story, but not enough to warrant the price of the book itself. It could easily have been made into a rich, exciting story - instead it is simple, direct, but too brief and ultimately unsatisfying. There are more questions asked after the reading than are answered by it. What did these early monks believe and what were their sources? How did their Christian faith collaborate with Buddhist and Taoist beliefs? What happened to the early Christians in Xian and other parts of China? Where are the scrolls now? Are there alternate translations? What does the stele say? And where can it be seen?
Because of the brevity, this book ends up on the "pop religion" category instead of where it should be: a serious work on an unknown but fascinating piece of religious history. The sutra selections come across as bumper-sticker slogans instead of inspirational texts. Overall an unsatisfying work.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating look at an ancient Christian-Buddhist Encounter Jan. 5 2004
By dan noyes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book! It is well written and consists of different sections. One section documents how these remarkable scrolls were created and how they were lost to history and then rediscovered.Another section presents the translations of the scrolls with insightful commentary by Thomas Moore. Another section presents Prayers from the scrolls. The teachings and Prayers in the scrolls are remarkable for their blending of Eastern and Western religious ideas and for their gentle and wise portrait of Jesus.At 140 pages it is a rich little book and well worth it but it left me wanting more.


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