James, the Brother of Jesus (book) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 10-17-2004, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Would anyone like to discuss the book James, the Brother of Jesus by Robert Eisenmann with me? While I know MDC might seem like a strange place to bring this up, I've noticed there are so many very smart mamas here. I just got this book out of the library and I am finding it absolutely fascinating!

Here is part of what is on the back of the (1074 page) book:

James was a vegetarian, wore only linen clothing, bathed daily at dawn in cold water, and was a life-long Nazirite. In this profound and provocative work of scholarly detection, eminent biblical scholar Robert Eisenmann introduces a startling theory about the identity of James-- the brother of Jesus, who was almost entirely marginalized in the New Testament.

Drawing on long overlooked early Church texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Eisenmann reveals in this groundbreaking exploration that James, not Peter was the real successor to the movement we now call "Christianity." In an argument with enormous implications, Eisenmann identifies Paul as deeply compromised by Roman contacts...

In delineating the deliberate falsifications in New Testament documents, Eisenmann shows how as James was written out, anti-Semitism was written in..."


Has anyone else read this book? What did you think? I have never before found a book that has such clear detection into Paul's anti Semitism.
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#2 of 8 Old 10-17-2004, 08:02 PM
 
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Gosh, I would love to read that book someday. I have often looked at i on Borders' bookshelf. It is a biggie, isn't it?

Got a big stack I am right in the middle of right now however.

The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man by Robt Price has some stuff on James that is probably similar to what is in the big book. His theory is along the lines, James was not Jesus's brother, John the B was not his cousin. They were competing prophets or leaders who were grafted onto the Jesus story when his popularity won out.

James was the "Teacher of Righteousness" in the Qumran commuity?
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#3 of 8 Old 10-18-2004, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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James was Jesus’ brother and the leader of the Jerusalem Church—either elected or directly appointed by Jesus depending on which source material you read.

Perhaps anti Semitism is not the best term to use when discussing Paul, at least not anti Semitism as it is generally perceived today. “Anti traditionalism” or “anti Torah” might better terms—much like Reform Judaism might be called “anti Torah” by its detractors today. Paul’s statements like:

But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away... (2 Cor 3:77)

or

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:13)

are hard to reckon with from a Jewish perspective (remember that whenever the word “law” is used in the epistles/ NT the reference is to Torah). No matter which way you turn it, these are very un-Jewish, anti-Jewish things to say. And these are just a few examples of Paul’s anti-Torah stance.

Eisenman also points out something I had always suspected existed in the NT as it has come down to us today— something he calls “rewrite processes” or “overwriting.” Certain individuals in the NT (like James, or even a putative wife of Jesus, though Eisenman does not get into that) are deliberately confused or misnamed in order to blur their identity. It gets to the point where you have “Mary the sister of Mary,” for example. Eisenman believes that “James the Just” (Jesus brother) is intentionally confused with “James the brother of John” or “James son of Zebedee.” He also believes that Jesus’ father Joseph is eventually called Cleophas/ Cleopas/ Clopas (see Jon 19:25 for an example of overwriting, where there is “Mary sister of Mary wife of Cleopas” at the foot of the cross). Another overwriting incident is the narrative of the death of Stephen in Acts—Eisenman believes this is actually a depiction the death of James, as it is identical (apart from the name) to two extra-Biblical accounts of the death of James.

Overall Eisenman’s book is the most evenhanded treatment of Paul I have encountered (the book is as much about Paul as it is about James). On the one hand he recognizes Paul’s Jewishness and deep familiarity with Talmudic and Jewish mystical traditions (though neither were codified at the time), yet he simultaneously points out his (Paul’s) profoundly disturbing attitude toward Torah (“the law”). Paul’s doctrines were diametrically opposed to those of the James-led Jerusalem Church, which were of Torah observance and spiritual purity, based both on belief (faith) and works (observance of the commandments). Paul disparagingly refers to James and his fellowship as “the circumcisers.”

Another thing I discovered from this book, that I had not realized, is that there are many guised barbs in Paul’s letters that are specifically directed toward James and the Jamesian Church. For instance—and again this is just one example—Paul’s oft quoted screed against “those who eat only vegetables” is a direct attack on James.

Eisenman also emphasizes that the “Judaizing” that supposedly took place in eraly Christianity is a myth—there was never any “Judaizing” of the church, only a progressive “gentilizing” as what was a sect of Judaism, headed by James, became increasingly unrecognizable as anything Jewish, due in large part on Paul.
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#4 of 8 Old 10-18-2004, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by DaryLLL
James was the "Teacher of Righteousness" in the Qumran commuity?
PS Yes, Eisenman believes he is, and he also believes that "the liar" and "the enemy" references in the Dead Sea Scrolls are references to Paul.

This is particularly alarming as "the enemy" in Judaism usually refers to Satan.

Eventually James' Church had to flee to what is today Iraq and Syria, where they may have influenced the eventual development of Islam.
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#5 of 8 Old 10-18-2004, 10:19 AM
 
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What extra-biblical info does he offer to assert James was Jesus's blood brother, not just a brother in the spiritual sense?
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#6 of 8 Old 10-18-2004, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by DaryLLL
What extra-biblical info does he offer to assert James was Jesus's blood brother, not just a brother in the spiritual sense?
Even Paul refers to James as Jesus' brother in Galatians 1:19 ("But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother").

As far as extra Biblical references, Eisenman cites Josephus, Eusebios, Epiphanius, Jerome, and a non canonical document called the Apostolic Constitution, which also states that Jesus appointed James as his succesor, not Peter.

Basically what happened was that as Mary's "eternal virginity" became doctrine, the fact that Jesus had siblings became an embarrasment to the church, and some early church fathers offered different explanations, for instance that James was Jesus' half brother by Jospeh's previous wife, or that they were milk brothers (both nursed by Mary). Or that the term "brother" just means "being in spiritual agreement," as when monks call each other "brother."

A big part of Eisemnan's thesis is that Jesus' family has been deliberately written our and blurred from scripture.
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#7 of 8 Old 10-18-2004, 12:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meowee
A big part of Eisemnan's thesis is that Jesus' family has been deliberately written our and blurred from scripture.
OK, so he takes the exact opposite tack than Price. You are really tempting me to read this!
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#8 of 8 Old 10-18-2004, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, so he takes the exact opposite tack than Price. You are really tempting me to read this!
yes! get it! The copy I have says 19.95. It's very readable. I can't believe how much of it I've read in just a few days. This from someone who has lost their ability to concentrate on anything longer than a magazine article.

The chapters can be read independently of each other, too.
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