The Jesus Dynasty : The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity

Based on a careful analysis of the earliest Christian documents and recent archaeological discoveries, The Jesus Dynasty offers a bold new interpretation of the life of Jesus and the origins of Christianity. The story is surprising, controversial, and exciting as only a long-lost history can be when it is at last recovered.

In The Jesus Dynasty, biblical scholar James Tabor brings us closer than ever to the historical Jesus. Jesus, as we know, was the son of Mary, a young woman who became pregnant before her marriage to a man named Joseph. The gospels tell us that Jesus had four brothers and two sisters, all of whom probably had a different father than his. He joined a messianic movement begun by his relative John the Baptizer, whom he regarded as his teacher and a great prophet. John and Jesus together filled the roles of the Two Messiahs who were expected at the time: John, as a priestly descendant of Aaron, and Jesus, as a royal descendant of David. Together they preached the coming of the Kingdom of God. Theirs was an apocalyptic movement that expected God to establish his kingdom on earth, as described by the Prophets. The Two Messiahs lived in a time of turmoil as the historical land of Israel was dominated by the powerful Roman Empire. Fierce Jewish rebellions against Rome occurred during Jesus' lifetime.

John and Jesus preached adherence to the Torah, or the Jewish Law. But their mission was changed dramatically when John was arrested and then killed. After a period of uncertainty, Jesus began preaching anew in Galilee and challenged the Roman authorities and their Jewish collaborators in Jerusalem. He appointed a Council of Twelve to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel, and among the Twelve he included his four brothers. After Jesus was crucified by the Romans, his brother James -- the "Beloved Disciple" -- took over leadership of the Jesus dynasty.

James, like John and Jesus before him, saw himself as a faithful Jew. None of them believed that their movement was a new religion. It was Paul who transformed Jesus and his message through his ministry to the Gentiles. Breaking with James and the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem, Paul preached a message based on his own revelations, which would become Christianity. Jesus became a figure whose humanity was obscured; John became merely a forerunner of Jesus; and James and the others were all but forgotten.

James Tabor has studied the earliest surviving documents of Christianity for more than thirty years and has participated in important archaeological excavations in Israel. Drawing on this background, Tabor reconstructs for us the movement that sought the spiritual, social, and political redemption of the Jews, a movement led by one family. The Jesus Dynasty offers an alternative version of Christian origins, one that takes us closer than ever to Jesus and his family and followers.

This is a book that will change our understanding of one of the most crucial moments in history.

"Many scholars have undertaken studies of Jesus and his legacy; none has dared advance the boldly provocative theses of The Jesus Dynasty. For sheer breadth of vision and imaginative reconstruction, rooted deeply in the historical sciences, this promises to be a book unlike any the public has ever seen."

-- Professor Bart Ehrman, Author of Misquoting Jesus and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"James Tabor presents what may be the boldest reconstruction yet of the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth. Working with the surviving evidence like a CSI detective -- especially the testimonies concerning Jesus' family and the Jerusalem Nazarenes -- Tabor succeeds in reinscribing what has been lost (and in some cases erased) from the historical record. At once scholarly and accessible, Tabor's book may very well inaugurate a new phase in the quest for the historical Jesus."

-- Professor Arthur J. Droge, Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature and Director, Program in Religious Studies, University of California at San Diego

"James Tabor stands out among his generation of biblical scholars for his thorough familiarity with the full range of textual evidence from the first centuries, his extensive experience with archaeological excavations, and his imagination and creativity. Tabor has a remarkable ability to discern the contours of vital religious movements from the scattered bits and pieces of evidence that survive from antiquity. Anyone who takes the career of Jesus seriously will have to reckon with his bold, new synthesis."

-- Professor Eugene V. Gallagher, Rosemary Park Professor of Religious Studies, Connecticut College

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Anonymous said...

in addition to this may i suggest the works of Hyam Maccoby? anyone with a Jewish background can see right through the Jesus movement. here are some online articles by Hyam Maccoby with brief quotes from each:

'Jesus and the Jewish resistance'

"At the same time, a Jew reading the Gospels is immediately aware of aspects which do not seem authentic; for example, the accounts of Pharisees wanting to kill Jesus because he healed on the Sabbath. The Pharisees never included healing in their list of activities forbidden on the Sabbath; and Jesus's methods of healing did not involve any of the activities that were forbidden. It is unlikely that they would have disapproved, even mildly, of Jesus's Sabbath-healing. Moreover, the picture of bloodthirsty, murderous Pharisees given in the Gospels contradicts everything known about them from Josephus, from their own writings, and from the Judaism, still living today, which they created."

'The Problem of Paul'

As a Talmudic scholar, I have found that knowledge of the Talmud and other rabbinical works has opened up the meaning of many puzzling passages in the New Testament. In my earlier book on Jesus, Revolution in Judaea, I showed how, in the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus speaks and acts as a Pharisee, though the Gospel editors have attempted to conceal this by representing him as opposing Pharisaism even when his sayings were most in accordance with Pharisee teaching. In the present book, I have used the rabbinical evidence to establish an opposite contention: that Paul, whom the New Testament wishes to portray as having been a trained Pharisee, never was one. The consequences of this for the understanding of early Christianity are immense."

Anonymous said...

As Friedriche Nietzche said: "All that was beutiful under the Roman Imperium became ugly under Christianity !".

TastyPaper said...

Interesting story considering the Jesus of the bible never actually existed!

Tim Simmons said...

I agree. Jesus did not exist. Paul's writings are 99.9% devoid of any reference to a human Jesus who lived on the earth just two decades before Paul's writings. This guy is missing the boat. James the Just has nothing to do with the book of James or any brother of Jesus. James the Just was real. Jesus was not. The book of James is anonymous. They just won't open their eyes!

Mark partly a copy of the Odyssey and that's why Jesus' disciples are bumbling dimwits (just like Odesseus' companions in the Odyssey). Jesus' true identity is secret in Mark - just like Odesseus'. I could cite pages more but it's all literary fiction.


Anonymous said...

For an EX Christian site there seem to be rather a lot of crappy posts trying to somehow, in a roundabout kind of way, prove that some type of jezuz person did indeed exist. Point is, there was many a "son-of-god-wannabe" running around the middle-east at the time". It was almost a scourge. Every second jewish bloke was a "prophet nut-job" Attention seekers like Simon Magus, Apollonius to name but two.
If u look at the OT, jews have been looking for a messiah since Genesis, so by this time in the NT it's no surprise that there was a "pretender" on every street corner. This particular jeebus was in any case not related to David thru' his so-called father Joseph, cos there is enourmous confusion over Joseph's geneaology, & most say he was nowhere near being a decendant of "David", and here we are completely discounting his mother being a virgin!!!Bloodlines were never counted thru' women in this virulently patriarchal society.
Most people shy away from the violent,murderous nonsense that is the OT. The OT is obviously written by pisscats like Sol who got plastered regularly, as he described the symptoms very well: Proverbs 23:29-35 Who has woe,Who has sorrow,who has strife. Who has needless bruises.Who has blood-shot eyes.Do not gaze at wine when it is red,when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!!!
In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things.You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,lying on top of the rigging."They hit me" ,you will say, but I'm not hurt!!!They beat me , bt I did not feel it! When will I wake up,so I can find another drink!

Anonymous said...

Hyam Maccoby? Are you serious? You're capable of "seeing right through the Jesus Movement," but you don't doubt the credibility of a Jewish "scholar" when he writes about Christianity? How can you even take Judaism seriously when so much of the Old Testament is filled with claims far more difficult to believe than the New?

By the way, why do some of you at this site refer to Jesus as "Jeebus?" "Jesus" is just as easy to spell, and if you don't even believe that He existed, why attempt to insult Him and His followers by using a name that sounds very much like that of one of your white southern relatives?

Perhaps Calvin should be urinating on your circular arguments in the margin.

Anonymous said...

John: What a stupid xtian fool u r.
I hereby formally and unequivocally insult all and yr ilk.
A bunch of self-serving, patting yrself on the back sadists.May u all rot in the redneck hell that yr Jeeebuzus created for u!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Judiasm,Islam & Xtianity are all ofshhots of the same disgusting WEED.

Anonymous said...

Jeebus the rodeo circus clown, yeehaw!!!!

webmdave said...

Hey John, did you read the book, or have you formed your opinion based on this short introduction?

If you've formed such a strong opinion based intirely on a short introduction, then it makes me wonder how much of the Bible you read before you concluded that it was the TRUTH™.

Just wondering.

XaurreauX said...

While the Jesus of Christianity is fiction--synthesized over the years in obvious reflection of the world view of the writers--there is the strong likelihood that said myth is based upon a real person or persons. It is probable that the god-man Jesus of Christianity is a composite character. As tippletooter pointed out, "...there was many a 'son-of-god-wannabe' running around the middle-east at the time." Not only at the time, but before and after, as well. In any case, allowing for such a possibility does not diminish the rational understanding that:
a. neither he nor has anyone else performed miracles,
b. the existence of a "Creator" is neither provable nor worthy of practical consideration,
c. there is no reason to assume there are rewards for belief or penalties for disbelief,
d. there is no reason to believe that any person or group would have special connection or insight as to this "Creator's" agenda.

Anonymous said...

This is all rot that is written.A bunch of fools have got together and written all this crap.

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