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The story of a stunning new discovery that provides the first physical evidence of Christians in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus and his apostles. In 2010, using a specialized robotic camera, authors Tabor and Jacobovici, working with archaeologists, geologists, and forensic anthropologists, explored a previously unexcavated tomb in Jerusalem from around the time of Jesus. They made a remarkable discovery. The tomb contained several ossuaries, or bone boxes, two of which were carved with an iconic image and a Greek inscription. Taken together, the image and the inscription constitute the earliest archaeological evidence of faith in Jesus' resurrection. Since the newly discovered ossuaries can be reliably dated to before 70 AD, when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans, they also provide the first evidence in Jerusalem of the people who would later be called "Christians." In fact, it is possible, maybe even likely, that whoever was buried in this tomb knew Jesus and heard him preach. The newly examined tomb is only 200 feet away from the so-called Jesus Family Tomb. This controversial tomb, excavated in 1980 and recently brought to international attention, contained ossuaries inscribed with names associated with Jesus and his immediate family. Critics dismissed the synchronicity of names as mere coincidence. But the new discovery increases the likelihood that the "Jesus Family Tomb" is, indeed, the real tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. Tabor and Jacobovici discuss the evidence in support of this interpretation and describe how both tombs appear to have been part of the property of a wealthy individual, possibly Joseph of Arimathea, the man who, according to the gospels, buried Jesus. The Jesus Discovery explains how the recent find is revolutionizing our understanding of the earliest years of Christianity. Tabor and Jacobovici discuss what the concept of resurrection meant to the first followers of Jesus, particularly how it differed from the common understanding of the term today. Because the new archaeological discovery predates all other Christian documents, including the gospels, it offers a dramatic witness to what the people who knew Jesus believed. There is no doubt that this is one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made. The Jesus Discovery is the firsthand account of how it happened and what it means.
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.
This fascinating examination of the earliest years of Christianity reveals sharply competing ideas about the significance of Jesus and his teachings and shows how the man we call St. Paul shaped Christianity as we know it today. Historians know almost nothing about the two decades following the crucifixion of Jesus, when his followers regrouped and began to spread his message. During this time the apostle Paul joined the movement and began to preach to the gentiles. Using the oldest Christian documents that we have--the letters of Paul--as well as other early Christian sources, historian and scholar James Tabor reconstructs the origins of Christianity. Tabor reveals that the familiar figures of James, Peter, and Paul sometimes disagreed fiercely over everything from the meaning of Jesus' message to the question of whether converts must first become Jews. Tabor shows how Paul separated himself from Peter and James to introduce his own version of Christianity, which would continue to develop independently of the message that Jesus, James, and Peter preached. Paul and Jesus gives us a new and deeper understanding of Paul as it illuminates the fascinating period of history when Christianity was born out of Judaism and became the religion we recognize today.
An account of the Waco tragedy, exploring the motivations of government agents, the media, cultbusters, the Branch Davidians, and their leader, David Koresh, and offering sympathetic explanations for the groups' possession of illegal firearms, unconventional sexual practices, and allegations of child abuse. Discusses the history of religious freedom in America, challenging stereotypes about unconventional religious groups. Includes extensive notes, and an unfinished manuscript by Koresh, plus lists of Branch Davidians who died in the attack, and those who survived.
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