Comments on “The Jesus Mysteries”
‘...an erudite and well-researched book stuffed with plenty of controversial ideas.’
Fiona Pitt-Kethley, ‘Book of the Year 1999’ The Daily Telegraph
‘I have used your book in my graduate seminar on Christian Origins. I think it is an excellent book for introducing anyone interested in Christian origins to the relationships between earliest Christianity and other religions of the Greco-Roman world.’
Professor Darrell J. Doughty
‘... most people will find the book provocative, stimulating, and perhaps infuriating. With “The Jesus Mysteries,” Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy provide us with the latest (and possibly most controversial) instalment in the important religious and scholastic journey to discover “the historical Jesus.” “The Jesus Mysteries” left this reviewer more convinced than ever that the life of Jesus as we know it is filled with mythological, political, and even polemical elements. Freke and Gandy succeed in bringing some important points about Christianity to the public in a readable, compelling book. ‘
David Allan Dodson CNN.com
‘The theory is not new. For two centuries at least, scholars have been aware of the intriguing parallels between the accounts of Jesus’ life and that of preceding and contemporaneous figures such as Osiris, Dionysus and Mithras. What is new is the powerful scholarship brought to the issue by authors Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy in The Jesus Mysteries, just published in Australia. The result, which draws strongly on the Gnostic gospels discovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945, is so persuasive that is doubtful whether theological scholarship will ever be the same’
Robert Macklin The Canberra Times ‘Panorama’ 1 July 2000.
‘Rarely have the roots of Christianity been disentangled to such disturbing effect. I shall never be able to read the gospels in the same way again.’
Roger Bolton, Presenter of BBC Radio 4 The Sunday Programme
‘The parallels between paganism and Christianity that Freke and Gandy advance are impressive’
Professor G A Wells, author of The Jesus Myth.
‘The lively and energetic style of this book will give the ordinary reader a rare insight into what may be called the New Age of Antiquity, and thereby also to the obscure and intriguing beginnings of Christianity. Scholars will appreciate the thorough documentation, specified in hundreds of footnotes.’
Professor Alvar Ellegard, author of Jesus - One Hundred Years Before Christ.
‘The Jesus Mysteries is a provocative, exciting and challenging book. It will force Christians to recognise that what we call orthodoxy is not orthodoxy because it is right, but because it won. Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy will force a new debate in Christian circles for which the Church will ultimately be grateful.’
Right Rev’d John Shelby Spong, Bishop of Newark and author of Why Christianity Must Change or Die
‘This is a powerful book, and its impact, like a rolling express train, accelerates as one is carried along, page after page, through the authors’ demolition of the Literalist Christian tradition. In their portrayal of second century Christian history and beyond, into the later era of Christian dominance after Constantine’s ‘conversion’ and the eventual eradication of all non-Literalist expression, Freke and Gandy are masterful. Here, and indeed in the book as a whole, the Jesus Mysteries is a real page-turner, and even their occasional indulgence in colloquially emotional language feels fully natural and justified. This book is already having an impact, and deserves to continue to do so. It makes an absolutely compelling case for the non-existence of the Gospel Jesus. The Jesus Mysteries and The Jesus Puzzle make effective companion pieces in the task of laying the Christian myth to rest.’
Earl Doherty, author of The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity begin with a Mythical Christ?
‘Recommended as an important book in the debate on the historical Jesus.’
‘Reads with the same charge as a good thriller. The authors uncovering of several inconsistencies within the four gospels is worth the entrance fee on its own.’
Kindred Spirit Autumn 2000
‘Authors Freke and Gandy delved deeply into evidence of the profusion of ‘mystery religions’ prevalent in the early centuries of the Christian era and came up with startling indications that challenge long-accepted historical views of the origins of Christianity. This book’s radical premise, as stated in the title is convincingly argued and documented ...Definitely a provocative read!’
New Alternatives for Publishers Inc. (NAPRA) Sept 2000
‘This is not for readers with a delicate nervous system. The book is shock treatment in paperback.’
Marie Mares New Vision
‘ The Jesus Mysteries is a powerful book which successfully challenges the history of Christianity bequeathed to us by the Roman Church. Already this book has started to have an impact and this is understandable. The historical evidence for the similarities betwe3en Christianity and Paganism is so clear that it is impossible to dismiss it or remain unimpressed. The result is a book which is a real page-turner. The Jesus Mysteries is too well researched and controversial to be ignored so I predict it will provoke discussion and debate for many years to come.’
Fiona Willson New Dawn Sept/Oct 2000
‘A wonderful blend of detective story, historical research and clear thinking. The Jesus Mysteries explains in accessible form what has been known to scholars for centuries. The time for the inner mysteries of Christianity to be brought out of the closet is long overdue, and this book is a powerful and courageous voice for the cause.’
Roger Housden Author of Sacred America.
‘Wonderful . . . absolutely on target.’
‘As the Jesus Mysteries Thesis becomes more widely known, and if it begins to be accepted, it is clear that the implications are revolutionary. It is likely to become one of the most important religious debates of the twenty-first century.’
Cecily Taylor ‘Quaker Monthly’ December 1999
‘Powerful, provocative and extremely well written. Impressive throughout and a really enjoyable read. This book is a milestone and if it succeeds as I hope it does, it will no doubt feel the heat from the academic fire it is fanning.’
Mark Vidler Author of The Star Mirror.
‘For anyone who is not familiar with historical and biblical scholarship of the last half-century or so, The Jesus Mysteries will come as something of a shock. Believing Christians will find it disturbing; Evangelicals will be horrified by it; Fundamentalists will no doubt ascribe it to the devil. And yet much in the book will be familiar to scholars. Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy demonstrate clearly and unambiguously that much of Christian belief and practice, rather than being (as the Church has always claimed) a vast contrast with the Pagan ideas of Greece and the Middle East 2,000 years ago, actually draws on those traditions. This controversial thesis will be dismissed by many readers, but the meticulous footnoting of sources, both ancient and modern, will cause others to wonder if this book ought to be taken more seriously than many recent rewritings of history.’
‘Jesus Christ - man or myth? Freke and Gandy believe the latter, and in this weighty yet accessible tome, they set out to prove it. The Jesus Mysteries traces the traditional symbols and stories of Christianity back to their original sources, which the authors believe belong in Paganism. The comparisons laid out between the two religions are startling in their similarity; the three wise men, virgin birth, crucifixion, resurrection. Even the traditional dates associated with Christianity can all be found in the Pagan myth of Osiris-Dionysus, who was also the Son of God. Exhaustively researched, it is hard to dismiss this as yet another attention-seeking popular non-fiction work with little in the way of substantial content. However, it does raise more questions than it answers, so don’t be surprised if a sequel is already in the making.
‘The List’ Glasgow and Edinburgh 13 May 1999
‘The parallels [Freke and Gandy] draw between early Christianity and the mystery religions of its time may intrigue a sizable readership.’
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