The Jesus Dynasty
It's refreshing to see that an audio version is available, read by Tabor himself, from which an audio excerpt is available too. But at this stage we are talking audio CD, and not download. I'm still hoping that the days of cheap, downloadable audio of academic books are not too far away. The site also features a series of quotations under specific headings (Gospels, Birth of Jesus, More than one Messiah etc.):
Select Excerpts from The Jesus Dynasty
See too this section to get a good summary of the book's approach and thesis:
Questions and Answers
The book has just been released and I've not yet seen a copy myself (anyone fancy sending me one for my free publicity?). Bart Ehrman has an endorsement to the following effect:
"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."And Amazon have the Publisher's Weekly review:
Tabor, chair of religious studies at UNC-Charlotte, offers a bold and sometimes speculative interpretation of the historical Jesus and his family, beginning with his paternity. Evaluating several possibilities, Tabor concludes that the most historically plausible claim is that Jesus' father was neither God nor Joseph, but another man, possibly a Roman soldier named Pantera. He also argues that Joseph likely died when Jesus was young, leaving Jesus head of a household that included his six half-siblings. Like many scholars, Tabor emphasizes that we must understand Jesus in the context of first-century Judaism. After Jesus' death, his brother James took over the titular family dynasty. James championed a version of the faith quite different from Paul's, and, although James was more faithful to Jesus' original teachings, Paul's Christianity won. Tabor not only challenges Christian dogma, he also makes some assumptions with which not all scholars will agree: he places a great deal of emphasis on the hypothetical text Q, calling it "our most authentic early Christian document." This book is accessible and sure to be highly controversial, attracting the attention of reporters, spiritual seekers, historians and fans of The Da Vinci Code.I can't say I'd be too thrilled by the latter association if I were the author (though my bank manager might be). I suppose I would naturally be less than enthusiastic too about the "great deal of emphasis on the hypothetical text Q", but of course Tabor is not alone there.
Now there have been several newspaper articles on the book over the last week or so. This one, from U.S.News.com, is a decent length and is clear and on the whole is well informed:
The Kingdom of Christ
A bold new take on the historical Jesus raises questions about a centuries-long quest
By Jay Tolson
It seems too that ABC News's Nightline had a feature on the book too, though I missed it myself, and the video is not available on-line except to subscribers. But ABC have a lengthy feature:
'Jesus Dynasty' Author Asks: Were There Two Messiahs?
This is another lengthy report, and is dated 7 April, when the feature went out on Nightline. (Is this the British Martin Bashir, famous for the Princess Diana and Michael Jackson interviews?). See also on the same site the following book excerpt:
Excerpt: 'The Jesus Dynasty' by James D. Tabor