A Reader's Diary

Friday, July 14, 2006

Review of Jesus the Man by Barbara Thiering

Review of Jesus the Man by Barbara Thiering

Author Thiering is an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls. In Jesus the Man she explains the pesher method and reveals what the gospels and other texts tell those “who have ears to hear” about the historical origins of Christianity in the gospel period. She postulates that the method details how Jesus survived the crucifixion, married and had children with Mary Magdalene, and more. She shows the historical political meanings behind the various “miraculous” occurrences such as Jesus “walking on water” and raising Lazarus “from the dead”, the “virgin birth”, and the appearances of “angels” and “Satan”, and reveals the origin of Christian practices like communion. Overall she shows in detail how knowledge of the symbolic system, calendar, practices, and general culture of the ascetic group to which Jesus belonged is vitally important to understanding the pesher history that lies below the surface meaning of the New Testament.

Whether you agree with her conclusions or not, Thiering shows us how the Dead Seas Scrolls allow a completely new way of reading the New Testament and offer new insight into the circumstances in which the new religion of Christianity arose. I think everyone will find something in this book worthwhile, and for those who cannot accept the “miracles” of the gospels or the strange predictions of Revelations, this book may be life-changing and offer a new context in which to understand Christianity.

Jesus the Man is an important scholarly work that cannot be lumped in with The Da Vinci Code. Yet the popularity of such stories indicates that people are ready to reexamine the historical and political origins of Christianity and to take a fresh look at the faith.

~Happy reading!


Post a Comment

<< Home