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The Jesus Sayings

The Quest for His Authentic Message
Paperback Book
Anansi Press
March, 2009
$19.95 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

Not all of the words attributed to Jesus were actually spoken by him, nor did he teach all of the doctrines taught as part of the Christian tradition. The canonical gospels mix fact and fiction, and many of Jesus’ sayings were lost for 2,000 years. So what did Jesus, or Yeshua, as he was known to his followers, really teach? Recent archaeological work has uncovered ancient texts that shed new light on the teachings of Jesus, and modern scholarship has revealed the source material for the New Testament gospels. Here, social historian Rex Weyler “seeks the authentic sayings of this Jewish peasant Jesus, his message, and mission,” presenting an accessible overview of these important new finds, using recent discoveries to give a fresh view of Jesus’ message.

By reviewing hundreds of obscure, ancient texts, Weyler uncovers a consistent thread in the historical record regarding the actual words, deeds, and teachings of Jesus. He shows how the message of Jesus has been misunderstood, and how the authentic Jesus message is useful today: 

Find the light inside yourself, and share this with the world.

Give to anyone who asks; generosity creates abundance.

Beware those who claim to speak on behalf of God; first, know yourself.

Grace arrives not from obedience to religious law, but from compassionate acts.

He uncovers astonishing insights about Jesus and his followers:

ª   The first Jesus followers weren’t “Christians.” Like Jesus, they were peasant Jews with naturalist beliefs and pagan traditions.

ª  Jesus borrowed freely from worldly wisdom (Taoism, Buddhism, Cynic philosophers).

ª  The Jewish Bible mentions many deities, including goddesses.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

ª  Jesus doesn’t speak on behalf of God. He speaks from his own experience.

ª  The meaning of titles such as “the Nazarene” and “the Magdalene.”

The voice of Jesus survived decades of oral transmission before written records appeared, and then centuries of revision thereafter…

I would not want to hurt the feelings of any true believer—whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian, or Bantu—but the time has long since arrived for modern society to reckon with the misuse of religion and the horrors perpetuated on people in the name of religion. In the west, perhaps it is time to rediscover what Jesus, a poor Jewish peasant from Galilee, actually said.

Weyler, with his knack for experientially apt images and telling ironies—while probing to the heart of the matter—approaches this controversial subject with an open, objective, and thoughtful mind. The Jesus Sayings entertains, enlightens, and can inspire seekers from all spiritual traditions.

Also by Rex Weyler: Chop Wood, Carry Water and Greenpeace: The Inside Story.

Publisher’s Description: 

Is it possible to reconcile Jesus, the Prince of Peace, with religious violence? From the Inquisition to the burning of women healers to modern pedophilia scandals, spiritual leaders and followers are deeply divided about how to reconcile the teachings of Jesus with the atrocities of church history. How did his message get misinterpreted, and what relevance does that message have in the 21st century? Here, critically acclaimed author and social historian Rex Weyler explores the mystery surrounding the historical Jesus, whose voice and words have been distorted by centuries of revision. By examining the research of international Bible scholars and some 200 ancient sources, including the recently discovered Gospels of Thomas and Mary, Weyler recreates the life of Jesus and his legacy, from the Roman Empire to the present day. Combining popular history with modern scholarship, "The Jesus Sayings" is a revelatory and highly readable work that entertains, inspires, and enlightens.

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