A fringe and fanciful view of the creation of the Christian faith.

CREATING CHRISTIANITY

A WEAPON OF ANCIENT ROME

A debut alternative history book explores the origins of Christianity.

Davis begins by offering the rare argument that “the Jesus described in the Gospels” did not exist. In fact, the author asserts, Christianity was a fabrication that postdated the Roman-Jewish wars of the first century. Working off the conclusions of other writers, such as Joseph Atwill, Davis weaves a detailed yet speculative explanation for how the New Testament and the Christian faith came into existence. He points to Arrius Piso, a contemporary and rival of Nero, as the originating genius behind the New Testament scheme. According to the author, Piso and his closest friends and family believed that by creating a new, peace-centered religion out of Jewish concepts, Rome could effectively counter Jewish rebellion across the empire. Beyond this, the new faith could serve as a Roman-centered religion and be used as a source of power for the Piso family and the empire itself. In this ambitious book, Davis attempts to prove his theory by using “the parallels discovered by independent scholar Joseph Atwill” between the New Testament and the works of Flavius Josephus (who the author maintains was the pen name for Piso). For instance, Davis argues that Jesus’ statement “I will make you fishers of men” is actually about a ship battle against the Jews in which many men were shot at or run down while trying not to drown. In addition, the story of the good Samaritan is about an attack on a Roman Legion by Jewish rebels, causing the soldiers to recuperate in Samaria. But these and many other such “parallels” are far from self-evident. Using the new religion to take the reins of power, Piso became St. Peter, the first pope; Pliny the Younger succeeded him as St. Linus, the second pope; and so on, the author claims. He tells readers: “Piso chose the name ‘Peter’ as his alias name of the founder of the Christian religion, because he was the ‘father’ (‘pater’) of the Christian religion.” Davis is painstaking in his research and provides ample textual evidence. Nevertheless, his highly unusual conclusions will likely find a skeptical reception from many believers and scholars.

A fringe and fanciful view of the creation of the Christian faith.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78926-557-6

Page Count: 327

Publisher: Independent Publishing Network

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2019

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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