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View Diary: Which book next? (97 comments)

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  •  Long ago (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pithy Cherub, plf515, JG in MD, wewhodream

    I found THE DANCING WU LI MASTERS: An Overview of the New Physics, to be pretty darn engaging, but as I say, that was long ago and I don't know if the material has since become outdated.  

    If you're looking for a slight change of pace, I'm just going to go ahead and recommend JOHN THE BAPTIZER, which presents itself as a novel, but only because a lot of the material upon which it's based is itself historically questionable, including the gospels.

    In any case, if you are interested in such things, it offers a full (and as such unprecedented)accounting of the life/legend of John the Baptist, and inasmuch as one of its main sources (in addition to the gospels and Josephus) are the sacred writings and stories of the Mandeans, a still practicing sect of Gnostics who regard Jesus as a deceiver and John as the last great prophet, the book functions to explore and dramatize the very real conflict that existed between the cults/practices/missions/persons of John and Jesus, and that still troubles the heart of modern-day Christianity.

    (Kos readers will be interested to know that 60,000 Mandeans were still living and practicing peacefully in southern Iraq before the American-led invasion of 2003.  There are at last count about 5000 left, most having fled to Syria and Jordan on account of the persecution they suffered at the hands of the mullahs and imams, newly empowered after the fall of Saddam.)

    That said, the books also, because of the extraordinary contour of John's own life and the glorious depravity of the Herods who finally brought him down, is a helluva yarn and a rip-roaring good read.

    Oh, and I wrote it.

    •  You Almost Had Me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      until you got to "Jesus as a deceiver." I'm more a Nag Hammadi gnostic, myself.

      We are all Jose Padilla.

      by JG in MD on Sun Jun 28, 2009 at 07:19:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  believe me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JG in MD
        if you were a Mandean, you might believe Jesus was a deceiver too.  Or at least that his followers had been mislead.

        Happily for me, as John's life ends a good year before Jesus' crucifixion, his story can be told without necessarily having to offer an clear opinion about the significance of that event (the crucifixion), or consequently about the truth of falsehood of Jesus' messianic claim.  

        The point is, the claim was being made, the signs were in place, but many people - including John's disciples and John himself - harbored doubts and questions.

        ...the same as may be derived from any fair reading of the Nag Hammadi documents.

        •  Yup (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          This topic is making me long for one of those discussions we used to have in college.

          Who Was Jesus Really?
          Judas: Betrayer or Willing to Sacrifice his Reputation to Obey his Lord?
          Mary Magdalene: Was She CEO of Jesus Ltd.? [Or Unlimited]
          The New Testament, Compliments of the Council of Nicea. What did they leave out and why?

          Anybody want to play earnest gnostic scholar with me here Near The Beltway?

          We are all Jose Padilla.

          by JG in MD on Sun Jun 28, 2009 at 09:13:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  excuse me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515, JG in MD, wewhodream

      On first reading your post, I didn’t understand that you were actually hosting Sunday-morning discussions here.  I thought you were just wanting recommendations for your own edification. In that context,  I can see where JOHN might be a little off-topic, depending upon how one read it.

      For individuals, the recommendation stands.  For group discussion...the Watson or the Jaynes.  

      And do you scoff at Rupert Sheldrake?  

      Or yeah, yeah, yeah, do one of the SETH books!  I’d definitely tune in...(or await the movie - the rights have been purchased, you know.)

      Anyway, forgive me, my JOHN book came out three days ago so I’m in promotional mode. And bleary.

    •  You might consider... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nova Land, plf515

      King Jesus by Robert Graves (he of I, Claudius fame).

      Excellent read about a proposed biography of Jesus as the true King of the Jews.  It is an historical novel. not a theological explanation so it may annoy some believers, but I found it a great picture of the Middle East of that time.

      Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. Dalai Lama

      by TPain on Sun Jun 28, 2009 at 08:33:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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