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James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls
From The Publisher:
In a profound and provocative work of scholarly detection, Eisenman establishes James — a figure almost entirely marginalized in the New Testament — as the leader of all opposition groups in the Jerusalem of his day and spiritual heir to his famous brother Jesus. James, not Peter, was the true successor to the movement we now call Christianity. Once we have found the Historical James we have found the Historical Jesus.
Drawing on the Dead Sea Scrolls and on long overlooked early Church texts, Eisenman reveals in this groundbreaking major exploration the Christianity of Paul as a distortion of what James and Jesus preached. Whereas James and his followers, "zealous for the Law" of Moses, were nationalistic and apocalyptic, Paul's Hellenized movement promoted itself as pacifist, cosmopolitan, and faith-based.
In an argument with enormous implications, Eisenman identifies Paul as deeply compromised by Roman contacts, and James 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. Creative rewriting of early Church documents has obscured this fact.
Eisenman shows that characters like "Judas Iscariot" and "the Apostle James" did not exist as such and details an actual physical assault by Paul on by James in the Temple. By rescuing James from the oblivion into which he was deliberately cast, James the Brother of Jesus reveals one of the most successful historical rewrite enterprises ever accomplished.
He will not persuade many because his conclusions are improbable, his arguments incoherent and his prose impossible ... He says James, who kept alive the real teaching of Jesus and whose story was suppressed in Jewish and Christian writings, was the rival of accommodationist high priests and the authentic leader of the Jewish community. In arguing this bizarre thesis, Mr. Eisenman ignores the normal canons of historical argument and of literary analysis. He treats later Christian sources, which contain legendary material, as historically reliable ... In Mr. Eisenman's hands ... legend becomes simple history.
—The New York Times Book Review, Anthony J. Saldarini
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About the Author
Robert Eisenman is Professor of Middle East Religions and Archaeology and Director of the Institute for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at California State University, Long Beach. He is is consultant for the Huntington Library in the struggle to free the Scrolls.
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