This has been the longest and most verbose way I have ever seen someone say "I didn't get it"Actually, I did.
The book is thick with NT exegesis, history, theology, quotes and references from other biblical studies and other books, yet for the general audience I’m afraid it’s too hard to follow and as a scholarly study it may not be in the best company. I did appreciate the book’s all-encompassing approach having some of the known facts and notions revisited, others less known or just good to know as conjectures. Armed with a decent critical thinking, no thesis is anathema or trigger as long as it comes from earnest endeavor. If that’s a project that someone put effort and passion in, who am I to dismiss it or criticize it;
With that being said, at first I thought this could be a book on Christianity’s role and place in history in the big scheme of things more akin to the Secret History of the World, yet this is just what its title sounds like, a lengthy exegesis on early Christianity, with a heavy personal bias towards denial of general accepted Jesus Christ narrative and historicity. So, it’s not about the religion ‘psy-op’, but the religion ‘fake-op’.
(I’m writing these notes lightheartedly on a relaxed afternoon Memorial Day, no mean to be mean or sound dismissive - with all there’s written out there on Christianity nothing can be taken as outrageous anymore and everything can have its place under the sun, all is learning even in denial, plus when it comes to history in general everything is relative after all, right? So these are not value judgments, just personal notes).
The Christ myth theory has been around for a while (over a century now) and while it’s an intellectual exercise that can be passed along as legit truthism, it's in the fringe territory. It sits somewhere in between the ‘suppressed’ ancient technology and the flat earth theory. This book in its entirety is built on the Christ myth theory, with solid arguments otherwise and re-iterations picked up from the abundant genre of its kind, bundles of notes and references which otherwise is a significant effort by itself. Only towards the end it diverges from the Christ myth and brings in Divus Julius as a punch line, marrying the two together. I suppose that’s the goal of the book and its note of originality. Now if you add two wrongs it won’t make a right one, and that’s the self-realization “unfortunately ...no cigar”;
I enjoyed reading-listening to the ebook as a biblical refresher with its abundance of text quotes, although not sure how palatable that is to the untrained reader. Moreover, I appreciated some of the comments and personal interpretation of pauline excerpts - yeah, I used to quip a lot on Paul, he’s the gift that keeps on giving. Some assertions maybe go a little bit haywire even from the Christ mythicism line such as “Paul baptized by John the Baptist” (how'd you come up with that?) and “Judah the Galilean executed in 19 AD by Pontius Pilate” (source!?), but again it’s the exegete’s freedom of interpretation;
I’m not going to take issue with any of the assertions made in the book nor with the Christ myth theory - for a Christian believer that’s a non-issue and for a spiritual seeker there’s more to Jesus than historical Jesus -, neither with the Caesar is so good I’ma take him home fandom. Can’t help noticing however that pinning Caesar as leitmotif for Paul sounds like the worst matchmaking job ever, as in: the movie was okay, but there’s just no chemistry between the two actors - unless Paul had a secret thing for shaved men dressed in togas;
My only question is, as George Noory would ask with a faux-bafflement tone in a radio-show at the end of the day: ‘Why would someone in their right mind, during the birth pangs of Christianity, switch Caesar for Jesus the Nazarene as a narrative?' Yeah, that Jewish son of carpenter that you deem not a good fit for the role. What’s the political gain or whatever other interest for pulling such a three-card monte when a gentlemanly Julius from the ruling nation would have made for a far better story to pass along and digest, and an easier ride to a sanitized new religion infused with pedigree, drama and people’s appeal…unless the obscure Judaic Jesus was the real deal. Anyways, I digress, enjoy reading the book and looking forward to the next one.