[ NOTE: These book summaries are designed as captures for what I’ve read, and aren’t necessarily great standalone resources for those who have not read the book. Their purpose is to ensure that I capture what I learn from any given text, so as to avoid realizing years later that I have no idea what it was about or how I benefited from it. ]
- Jesus was a political dissident against Roman rule, and preached that the Romans would be overthrown by God’s kingdom on earth
- He advocated following the Jewish law completely
- He didn’t think he was the son of God
- He was killed for sedition, just like hundreds before and after him
- When they asked him if he was the King of the Jews it was basically asking him if he planned on rising against Rome (as King)
- After his death the people that took up his cause were split
- Most, including his brother James, taught that he was the messiah, but that they should absolutely follow the Jewish law completely
- Paul thought he was better than the main followers, including James, and taught that Jesus was God, and that he replaced the Jewish law with something different
- The main group, including James, basically kicked Paul out of Jerusalem, and he fled to Rome
- While Paul was banished in Rome, the Jews rose up against the government and got crushed by a giant army. Virtually all Christians and Jews were killed in all of Jerusalem
- This left Paul in Rome, where he had a resurgence in popularity
- The Emperor of Rome converted to Christianity, and the best source of what that meant was Paul–the guy who was banished for teaching precisely the wrong thing
- So the modern Christian religion was founded on the exact wrong teachings, i.e. not what Jesus or his followers believed
I hear that Bart Ehrman disagrees with this narrative, but his blog is behind a paywall, so I’ll never know. Blasphemy.
Also, my trust in Reza Azlan is tempered by the fact that he ridicules Christianity as silly, and then later converts to Islam, which seems to my uneducated eyes to be significantly more flawed.
Would love to hear intelligent and knowledgable responses to the narrative put forth in the book, as summarized by the points above.
[ Find my other book summaries here. ]
- I am neither a religion nor a Christianity expert. I have read a few books on these topics by people who many consider to be experts.