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The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spiritual Message of the Aramaic Jesus Audio Cassette – Audiobook, 25 Jan 2000

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Sounds True Inc (25 Jan 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564557022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564557025
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 2 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,081,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Neil Douglas-Klotz is an internationally known scholar in the fields connecting religious studies and psychology as well as a poet and musician.

Regular news from him can be found at his Facebook page:

He is the author of:

Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus (HarperCollins 1990);

Desert Wisdom: The Middle Eastern Tradition from the Goddess Through the Sufis (HarperCollins 1995, new edition in preparation);

The Hidden Gospel: Decoding the Spirituality of the Aramaic Jesus (Quest 1999);

The Genesis Meditations: A Shared Practice of Peace for Christians, Jews and Muslims (Quest 2003);

The Sufi Book of Life: 99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish (Penguin USA 2005)

Blessings of the Cosmos: Wisdom of the Heart from the Aramaic Words of Jesus (Sounds True 2006)

The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope and Peace for Jews, Christians and Muslims (Beacon Press 2006, with Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Sr. Joan Chittister)

His audio sets from Sounds True include: The Hidden Gospel, Original Prayer (on the Aramaic Prayer of Jesus) and The Healing Breath (on the Beatitudes and Jesus' healing ministry).

He is the past chair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of Religion and active in various international colloquia and conferences dedicated to peace and spirituality. He directs the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning ( in Edinburgh, Scotland. and co-founded the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, now in its sixth year ( In 2005 he was awarded the Kessler-Keener Foundation Peacemaker of the Year award for his work in Middle Eastern peacemaking. Information about his work may be found at the website of the Abwoon Resource Center (

His personal biography follows:

I grew up in a multicultural family. My grandparents (both sides) were refugees from Europe with German, Jewish, Russian and Polish blood in their veins. They followed their track to the ethnic neighbourhoods of Chicago, where my parents met and married.

I was raised by Christian parents who were both devout and freethinking. They brought into my early life the impulse to worship and praise, as well as to question everything that constricted and opposed the injunction "love your neighbour as yourself." My father was a chiropractor, my mother a student of the health education of Edgar Cayce. They raised me with a respect for the body and the wonders of nature found therein, as well as a disdain for the superficial innovations of humanity that polluted both body and nature.

Hearing from childhood German, Yiddish and Polish in our home, raised on the stories and miracles of Jesus, taught the practical truth of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, I formed an interest in language, spirituality, the body and ecological justice early in life. In many ways, I have been pursuing these interests ever since.

After graduation from college in 1973, I pursued a career as a journalist in the fields of social justice, environmentalism and consumer protection for several years before turning to the following questions: Why do people change? What causes me to change? Is there a more powerful level of motivating change than that of ideas? In pursuing these questions, I returned to interests I developed in college that centered on: the body and changes of attitude and behaviour, mystical and "expanded" states of consciousness, and the early pre-religious roots of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

I pursued some of this study academically through the University of California, Berkeley. But most of it found me seeking out teachers from the native traditions of the Middle East, Pakistan and India who introduced me to the other modes and methods of learning as well as the body-oriented spiritual practices that accompanied this study. Beginning in 1976, I was very privileged to study with the early students of the American Hebrew/Sufi mystic Samuel L. Lewis, who introduced me to the body prayer meditations called the Dances of Universal Peace. One phase of this intense period of study led me on a three-month pilgrimage in 1979 to sacred sites and teachers in Turkey, Pakistan and India.

In 1982, I founded the International Network for the Dances of Universal Peace (now based in Seattle, WA), a multicultural resource center for those who chose this form of peacemaking through the arts as their forum for both peace "demonstration" as well as spiritual practice. Over the past 15 years, I have been actively involved in leading educational exchanges and citizen diplomacy trips with the Dances to Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and to the Middle East.

From 1986 until 1996, I served as a faculty member of the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality and a member of the Core Faculty since 1990. During its "golden age," the ICCS was a gathering place for scientists, artists, educators and learners from many different cultural and racial backgrounds. Many of our students were non-US citizens and I enjoyed the opportunity to teach and learn across the differences and within a rich field of diversity. This diversity, at its best, provided a sort of "quantum field" of uncertainty in which real inquiry and learning occurred for us all.

In September 1993, I co-led a group of students from Europe, Australia, the U.S. and Canada on a citizen diplomacy/educational trip to Jordan, Israel and Syria. Serendipitously, this occurred exactly during the signing of the Israel-PLO accords. We were greeted warmly and were able to share discussions and artistic and cultural exchanges with many different people from all the varied sides of the confrontation. I continue work in this area, both individually, and collaboratively through the International Association of Sufism.

During my sabbatical to finish my doctorate, I moved to Europe. It both allowed me to be nearer to my Middle Eastern connections and seemed more welcoming to the type of multicultural work we were both doing. I enjoyed the change from a bustling Northern California urban environment to the rolling farm fields of Thomas Hardy country in Dorset.

Since March 1999 I've lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, another multicultural arts and music center where I started the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning ( My fluency in German and some other European languages also enables me to continue educational exchanges and lectures throughout Europe. In 2004, I co-founded, with Mr. Neill Walker, the Edinbrugh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace (, which annually in March draws thousands of visitors to events across the city. It is supported by the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh. Since 2006, I've been married to Natalia Lapteva, a Russian therapist and coach.

Product Description


Listeners join translator Neil Douglas-Klotz as he delves into early New Testament scriptures written in Aramaic - the original language of Jesus and his followers. He offers meditations to interpret and reflect on these words just as early Christians did.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Hepburn on 19 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book highly enough (& indeed, anything by this author) to anyone who really seeks to understand the words of Jesus. Whether you are of any faith or none, this book shows so clearly how very much we miss through our unconscious cultural/religious preconceptions. In showing how the Semitic languages work, and how very different our Western concepts of God, ourselves and nature are from the world-view of Middle Eastern culture, whole new levels of meaning are revealed which are healing, precious, and SO much bigger than we could ever imagine. Life affirming, life enhancing and especially relevant now. Truly remarkable.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Walker on 12 Dec 2000
Format: Audio Cassette
This double cassette set gives you the opportunity to hear and sing the original Aramaic body prayers of Jesus! Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz introduces you to the hidden meaning of the teachings of Jesus, by reavealing the interpretations of the Aramaic language in which Jesus spoke.
The tapes are in eight sections, described as keys. The first key : My Breath is Part of the Holy Spirit, explains the mystical significance of the breath in a way that left me in no doubt that God is my breath.
"From my breath to the air we share to the wind that blows around the planet: Sacred Unity inspires all. All that breathes resides in the Only Being."
Each key offers insight and understanding, new words to chant and different experiences. I particularly enjoyed the third key which is : God Gives Birth Every Moment. Everything is Born in Blessing. This key explores the opening words of the Jesus Prayer and guides us to an understanding of how we have the opportunity to be born anew each day.
The author, in a warm and unassuming voice opens a whole new vision of the Beatitudes. For example he describes the first Beatitude (Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven) as having a possible translation of "Blessedly ripe are those who have only their breath."
Singing the ancient words in the way we are asked to certainly set up a sacred vibration that left me wanting more! By feeling the resonance in my body and observing my physical, emotional and spiritual responses, I believe that Dr Douglas-Klotz offers us something not only deeply inspirational but healing.
Having read Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz's previous book, Prayers of the Cosmos, this was like meeting the man and The Man.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting but rather complicated book which seeks at times to find solutions to things which can never be certainly ascertained. However an interesting book to read and does cause the reader to think about the origins of the gospels There needs to be an awareness that the writer although sympathetic to the Christian perspective is not himself a Christian and this perhaps enables the reader to follow some of his arguments better. Peter Baden
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A different slant on a message that was never explained from later English and Greek translations.
You're let with an insight into a Middle Eastern mystical religion and philosophy; made more sense to me.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Schulz on 5 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I'm interested in the oral(Aramaic) background to the gospels. I already have a collection of books on this subject but thought another would provide more insights. The author does indeed select (only) some gospel texts and show how, if the Greek is translated into Aramaic, the words can have several meanings and not just those of the Greek. Given the nature of the book, (see below), it remains to be seen if his translations are accurate!

With his new list of words he then proceeds to pick out those which fit into his particular picture of Jesus. His paraphrases of the gospel texts end up by creating a Gnostic Wisdom teacher. He inserts into the Gospel texts ideas that are totally foreign to it, to the extent that a first century Jew couldn't understand what Jesus was saying. When compared to the historical Jesus, for whom we have a great deal of information, this portrait looks like a New Age invention, or perhaps a Sufi invention as the author is a Sufi. It certainly doesn't fit in with a first century Jesus.

The end result of his, so-called research, is a Jesus who is unbelievable. I am OK about quirky views of Jesus as long as they will fit with the historical person, but here, it is not the case. The spiritual message of Jesus has not been "decoded" by Douglas-Klotz. The "Good News" can be readily found in the gospels and its subtleties can indeed be uncovered by a study of Hebrew words and idioms. But his Jesus is a parody derived from his own personal philosophy.

My recent research on the Aramaic foundation to the gospels has revealed that the original oral text is, in fact, Hebrew. Scholars have dismissed the "Aramaic primacy" theory. So, it would seem, both I and Douglas-Klotz are on the wrong track.
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