A fascinating study for anyone interested in the history of the Christian church and willing to roll up their sleeves for...


Cover-Up: How the Church Silenced Jesus's True Heirs

An exhaustively meticulous work of biblical exegesis has all the drama and conspiracy of a journalistic exposé.

First-time author Goudge doesn’t waste any time announcing his controversial intention to uncover a “2000-year conspiracy of silence” designed to “keep the history of Jesus’ Jewish heirs plunged in darkness.” At the personal level, the conspiracy expresses itself as an “epic struggle” between James, brother of Jesus, and Paul, author of a systematic Christian theology. At a more doctrinal level, according to the author, the ancient tug of war is between Jesus’ fundamentally Judaic mission and Paul’s tortured gentile interpretation. Paul, more apostate than apostle, is the villain of this tale, disfiguring Jesus’ pedagogic intention in such a way that permanently drives a schism between Judaism and so-called Christianity. Along the way, the author unpacks several contentious issues with scholarly curiosity and lively prose. For example, is Jesus really a pacifist? Was he genuinely born in Bethlehem? What is the true account of Jesus’ little-known childhood and questionable parentage? What are the real origins of Christmas and Halloween? Is it correct to consider Paul a true apostle? It’s impossible not to be impressed with the sheer breadth of the author’s erudition and his unrelenting interrogation of often scant evidence. However, his thesis is so wide-ranging, he sometimes makes inferences and extrapolations that go well beyond what the text provides. For example, the explanation for Paul’s perfidy is that he was a “profoundly conflicted individual, given to violence and obsessed with ambition.” Also, since the author’s objectives make it necessary for him to accept some biblical sources as canonical and others as spurious, it would have been helpful for him to articulate a set of general interpretive principles. In fairness to the author, he acknowledges these difficulties, admitting that “we have to be careful of all texts,” that “all authors have a slant” and that the texts as we find them could be corrupt or amended.

A fascinating study for anyone interested in the history of the Christian church and willing to roll up their sleeves for some fastidious scholarly analysis.

Pub Date: May 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-1469787305

Page Count: 398

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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