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    Post by Nico10 on Mon 05 Dec 2011, 5:37 pm

    The book “JESUS AND THE GODDESS...” is an insightful and alternative look at spirituality and the origins of the Christian religion. It is not a book of history, rather, it can broadly speaking be categorised as philosophy. If nothing else, this work proves again to me what I have always been saying, and that is that philosophy and theology is ultimately one and the same thing, with the latter being nothing but a branch of the former.

    In “JESUS AND THE GODDESS...”, authors Freke and Gandy unleashes a great deal of Bible bashing, or, one should rather say, criticising the interpretation of the Bible by organised religious groups such as Catholics and Protestants. Using combinations of canonical and non-canonical Biblical-, as well as other ‘Pagan’ sources, they reject the historical Jesus claiming that the perspective modern Christians has, has been greatly distorted by “literalist”. Hence, the authors claim, Christians as a rule are missing the point about Jesus and, well, you guessed it, the authors obviously knows the real story behind the story, unlike most ignorant people out there in the world.

    As part of, “JESUS AND THE GODDESS...”, authors Freke and Gandy seems to propose a set of “new” fundamentals to spirituality. As humans, we must all love each other more and more every day. This can easily be done by becoming less and less aware of WHO we are while at the same time focussing more on WHAT we are. And this is the essence of this work. It is the punch line that gets repeated over and over again. What Freke and Gandy argues, it that humans has a tendency to set themselves up against their natural being, as oppose to what they falsely perceive to be ‘real’. Well, while many scholars will agree that the Christian set of believes has a great deal of Plato written all over it, Freke and Gandy obviously takes this to a new level (or I could be hugely mistaken – not impossible). However, all is not lost...

    So now, enough being cynical (I think I made that a bit clear). There is another side to “JESUS AND THE GODDESS...”. What this book undoubtedly proof, is that it is not entirely pointless to study the ancient world. The world we live in today has been greatly influenced by the ancients, and if we want to get greater insights into the controversies surrounding influential ancient figures (amongst others Jesus), we will have to develop a better knowledge of the ancient world.

    Freke and Gandy’s book is certainly worthwhile if the title draws one. There were some very debatable statements made in the book, but still. One of the main reasons why works of this nature often never influence people in great numbers is because it attacks history by means of philosophy. The philosophical stance is often rejected because of the way it generalises about everything and everyone. One finds the authors almost pleading for a global new interpretation of spirituality, thus a reinterpretation of the history of the world, and yet almost the whole argument is built on a philosophy accessing only selected sources.

    Repeatedly, the authors seem to suggest that religion is on its way out and that it is a passing practice, especially Christianity. This is absolute nonsense. While in the west many nations have as a rule become less prone to Christianity, the opposite is true in Africa and Asia. In fact, in general terms, worldwide, the two biggest religions, Christianity and Islam, are still spreading like wildfire and will probably continue to do so for many years to come.

    Who should consider this book? “JESUS AND THE GODDESS...” should be considered reading for those who are truly ‘into’ religion. Sadly, despite the book offering an alternative means of interpreting human history, it is just a book of philosophy, plainly put wishful thinking and not much else. What is more is that at least two of the chapters were so boring that I had to simply force myself to read thru it. Part of the reason could be the fact that the book starts with such a bang that you expect the whole thing to just blow you away. It has to be stretched: the book is not a history of religion. The authors argue a specific point of view with strong theological undertones. The book may or may not be helpful to those seeking spiritual hope. Nevertheless, “JESUS AND THE GODDESS” will most likely bore many people who do not have a serious interest in religious affairs. It could even do the same to those of us fascinated by religion, as it did with me, at times.

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