James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls

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9781504680363: James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls

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A profound and provocative work of scholarly detection from eminent biblical scholar Robert Eisenman

James was a vegetarian, wore only linen clothing, bathed daily at dawn in cold water, and was a life-long Nazirite. In this profound and provocative work of scholarly detection, eminent biblical scholar Robert Eisenman introduces a startling theory about the identity of James -- the brother of Jesus -- who was almost entirely marginalized in the New Testament.

Drawing on long-overlooked early church texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Eisenman reveals in this groundbreaking exploration that James, not Peter, was the real successor to the movement we now call ''Christianity.'' In an argument with enormous implications, Eisenman identifies Paul as deeply compromised by Roman contacts. James is presented as not simply the leader of Christianity of his day, but the popular Jewish leader of his time, whose death triggered the uprising against Rome -- a fact that creative rewriting of early church documents has obscured.

Eisenman reveals that characters such as ''Judas Iscariot'' and ''the Apostle James'' did not exist as such. In delineating the deliberate falsifications in New Testament documents, Eisenman shows how -- as James was written out -- anti-Semitism was written in. By rescuing James from the oblivion into which he was cast, the final conclusion of James the Brother of Jesus is, in the words of the Jerusalem Post, ''apocalyptic'' -- who and whatever James was, so was Jesus.

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Review:

Robert Eisenman, one of the most eminent researchers of early Christianity working today, has produced an exhaustive study of the historical milieu at the time of Jesus and come to the conclusion that James, rather than Peter, was heir to his teachings. Because the historical material regarding James is actually quite plentiful, a clear picture arises not only in regard to who James was, but by extension, who Jesus was also. Controversy is assured; still, given a patient reading, one will discover that Eisenman's research is meticulous, his arguments cogent, and his conclusions persuasive. This should prove to be a popular and influential book.

About the Author:

Robert Eisenman is a biblical scholar, theoretical writer, historian, archaeologist, and ''road'' poet. He is currently Professor of Middle East Religions, Archaeology, and Islamic Law and director of the Institute for the Study of Judaeo-Christian Origins at California State University, Long Beach. The consultant to the Huntington Library-in its decision to free the Dead Sea Scrolls, he was the leading figure in the worldwide campaign to gain access to the Scrolls.

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