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3.2 out of 5 stars
The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-up in History
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 7 August 2006
There are some interesting ideas in here, mind you very well hidden. Much of what is included has been covered before but the author takes a somewhat different approach which does generate interest and thought, however, the book 'meanders', seeming to take off in different directions without any real sense of purpose, wandering from subject to subject. Threequarters through I almost forget what the subject was!

There are a number of 'leaps': occasions where the author makes a statement based on very little information and then, later in the book, acknowledges that statement as true and begins to build his argument around it.

So, some tenuous links, some wooly writing (and editing), and some good argument. It's a pity the book isnt more structured allowing the reader to know where the author is heading, what arguments he is trying to support, and what evidence he is using to do so.

Worth a read if this sort of thing interests you but there are more interesting approaches.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Conspiracy theories abound - such is the basis of the wildly popular 'Da Vinci Code', and such is the basis of 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail', another earlier book by Baigent that details in a nonfiction manner much of the same conspiracy theories that are at the heart of the fictional novel by Dan Brown (soon to be a major motion picture, coming to a cinema near you, et cetera...).

There is nothing new in this book. True, some of the photographs are 'never before published' as the press kit will put it, but they aren't really earth-shattering images, just some standard fare imagery apropos to the topic. Baigent explores the history of the Zealots and other sects in first century Judea, their relationship with the Roman dominating apparatus, and the possible motivations behind the writing of the gospels and other writings in the way that they were. There were differing interpretation of the Christian events from the earliest times, and these controversies were not settled for generations (indeed, some still have not been). But this is far different from conspiracy and intrigue that is being hinted at in this publication.

Pointing out inconsistencies in the texts of the Bible is an old game, and many scholars freely acknowledge the difficulties of resolving some of the issues. This doesn't seem to be acknowledged by Baigent in very clear tones.

I am disappointed in this text in that I cannot say much about anything new, as it is a recycling of information to get a publication out when the timing is right, a 'strike while the iron is hot' kind of publishing move. For those unfamiliar with some of these theories, it may be interesting read. For those already acquainted with the issues (even those whose exposure is limited to 'Da Vinci Code' elements), it might prove less worthwhile.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 27 December 2006
I am a great fan of Michael Baigent and his views on alternative Christian history. However, in this book Baigent doesn't produce any new revalations as his sources for this book are largely secondary.

In this book Baigent through some of his antiquity-dealing friends comes upon several ancient documents that claim to offer indisputable proof that Jesus survived the crucifixion and lived into old age. Whether or not he was married to Mary Magdalene and had a child is of course the thesis of the Holy Blood and Holy Grail. It was while he was researching HBHG that he came into contact with a priest who claimed to have been told about documents (then in the possession of the Vatican) that surfaced in the early 20th century proving that Christ was alive post 33AD. Towards the end of the book Baigent alludes to an Israeli antiquities dealer who shows him Aramaic scripts further proving Jesus was alive long after the crucifixion. Frustratingly, Baigent admits that he cannot read Aramaic so cannot prove the claims of the dealer.

Aside from scrutinizing ancient documents Baigent also hypothesizes that Jesus may have been a Jewish mystic rather than the Son of God. References to the Kingdom of Heaven, he argues, are a metaphor for a state of consciousness that mystics of ancient times strived to reach or attain. Baigent, like many other previous authors, attacks the early church's attempts to outlaw many of the early gospels that possibly reveal a mystical element to Christ's teachings.

On completion of this book there seems to be too many loose ends; the book seems only half complete. No translation or dating of the texts inspected by Baigent is undertaken which is surprising as these provide the foundation of his arguments. The priest's account of further proof for Christ's existence after 33AD is yet to be followed up. Baigent points to the shadowy world of antiquities dealing and Church interests for these loose ends. Sadly whether or not these claims will ever be proven is any body's guess...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If your thinking of buying this book for the next exciting chapter of The Bloodline Of Jesus & The Holy Grail... Then this book isn't for you...

With over 20 years + more research than The Holy Blood & The Holy Grail, the author provides next to nothing new on the subject... The author waffles on for nearly the entire book going off on various tangents telling the reader of his travels around the world that have no real relevance to the story itself... It actually got quite boring... If I wanted to know about the authors travels I'd check out his Facebook page...

Then eventually when you get to "The Jesus Pages"... Its about 10 pages of the book, if that... & there is no evidence whatsoever to say that they are what they say they are... It was just deflating...

In short this book has a few interesting points, but none that haven't been covered already... The book is very long winded & doesn't flow very well at all... Then when you get to the juicy bit, you find out that it isn't very juicy at all... & as far as "Exposing the Greatest Cover-up in History"... The only thing the book exposes is how silly the author is in thinking that he has done that...
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on 2 July 2015
The thesis of this book is that Jesus did not die on the cross but survived the crucifixion thanks to a bizarre plot orchestrated by Pontius Pilate who did not want to be responsible for the death of a pro-Roman figure. Jesus, as a descendent of David, had been groomed for the role of Messiah by the anti-Roman zealots but had repudiated the road of violent revolt and had been betrayed by them into the hands of his - and their - enemies. He was supposedly still alive in 45Ad - in Egypt - while Paul was busy preaching his death and resurrection. The evidence for this preposterous theory consists of a picture in Renne le Chateau of Jesus under a moon-lit sky and various ancient documents which either no longer exist or cannot be located and which no reputable scholar (still alive) has ever seen. Since the author does not read Aramaic he has no real idea what was on these texts and we are expected to believe that having taken photos of some of them he allowed the only copies to be handed over without a receipt and with only a few poor copies of some of the texts. Why anyone should believe this is beyond me. The book does have some interesting speculations on the influences on Jesus' teaching but that hardly amounts to a smoking gun that undermines two centuries of Christian doctrine. Frankly it is less difficult to believe that Jesus rose from the dead than that Pilate helped him survive the cross. Don't waste your money on this sort of tosh.
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on 6 August 2014
the bible , books by graham phillips, books by lawrence gardner...and loads more i've read them all and enjoyed them ...but this is a special book i couldn't put it down once i read the first few pages.. it wont be for you if you are just starting on a quest ..its best left as a cherry on top. the message of jesus is the most important thing...he is your brother in god..as is your inheritance (daughter christs also). this book will enhance your belief.... but you may view church going with less enthuiasm ( i believe in god not church going but if its your thing i am happy for you). you may find this book was written especially for you a case of " for your eyes only" . the bible is full of juicy numbers and phrases....but god didn't put all knowledge in one book. .go be a reading pilgrim ....read the gospels that some thought didn't fit the bill.. mary phillip etc . study a bit of other faiths .my own happy path is redindianchristian. i found no joy in church going and god sent to the native americans for healing and teaching and it was just the spark i needed to start my my spiritual journey home..and no matter what anybody tells you ...THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU. thank you michael baigent i really enjoyed your book....it really was like comparing notes with someone on the same wavelength and thank GOD foe everything ....love from your brother M
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2006
If you have been swept up in the 'Da Vinci' effect, and are hungry for more, you will not be disappointed. This book continues Michael Baigent's quest to unearth the truth about the life and death of Jesus. Remember that he does not use the veil of fiction - this book is the result of a lifetime of research. It also includes photographs of some of the key sites investigated.

Excavated from the cellar of a house in the Old City in Jerusalem, two papyrus documents bearing an Aramaic text can be dated back to about A.D.34. They are letters written to the Jewish court, the Sanhedrin, by someone who calls himself "bani meshiha" - the Messiah of the Children of Israel.

Read this book to share in a fascinating search for long forgotten secrets.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I must admit that Michael Baigent had me going there for a while, as I skimmed through his pages. But on page 130, I was brought to my senses when Baigent states that Mark uses two different words for "body" in the space of two verses (Mark 15:43-45). Now being particularly well acquainted with Mark, I knew that he did no such thing. I had recently provided a fresh translation of Mark's entire Gospel for my book More Bible Wisdom for Modern Times: Selections from the Early New Testament. Baigent builds an entire case on Mark's use of the word "ptoma". (A good English equivalent would be "the remains". The word is employed only once in the entire New Testament when it is used to describe the dismembered body of John the Baptist). But Mark does not write "ptoma". Instead, he repeats the usual, commonplace Greek word for "body", "soma". So, once alerted to one error, other Baigent suppositions built on misquotes and similar flimsy evidence become more evident. The book looks impressive, but at its core is fatally flawed.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2007
Interesting, but nothing new in this field, April 13, 2007

This book is essentially a look from a different angle of the author's original thesis expounded in his best seller "Holy Blood, Holy Grail." In that book, Jesus survived his crucifixion by being taken down early, and traveled with his wife Mary Magdalene to southern France. His subsequent issue was protected by the Knights Templar and other secret societies through the ages. A 30's male lives in Paris today who is a direct descendent of Jesus.

In this review, Michael Baigent spends considerable space examining the activities of the Catholic church in rigorously suppressing all competing variations of early Christianity. Clearly aggrieved by Catholic critics, he describes in great detail how that sect has diverged almost 180 degrees from Jesus' own teachings: recklessly killing nonbelievers in the name of Christ and demoting women to an inferior status.

In this work, Baigent has become transfixed by his latest theory; that Jesus visited, learned and preached an Egyptian form of mysticism having to do with leaving the body to visit the Kingdom of Heaven and returning to carry on good works on Earth. He explores various secret caverns and strings together hypothetical claims that link Egyptian mysticism with a few tantalizing phrases in the gospels and other ancient writings. Far too much exegesis is allowed on Egyptian mystery cults, and the work seems like two books strung together in just the way that HBHG seemed to be two books under one cover--the history of the Templars, and the escape of Jesus and Mary.

It is an interesting slant, but none of this is particularly new, and many others have tread this ground in one way or another. Baigent is too crafty for my taste in gliding over whether or not he believes that some of the secrets and secret states of these Ur-Christians are supernatural. Anyone who has spent this much effort (a lifetime) debunking the Jesus of Faith should at least confess whether or not he believes there is anything at all supernatural about the founder of Christianity. Otherwise, it seems as if he is holding open (without having to defend) the possibility of an altered state beyond that of Timothy Leary. Hmmmm. Maybe time for another book...
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on 20 October 2012
For anyone reading Michael Baigent for the first time this could be a very good choice - highly informative and thought-provoking. However, I'm familiar with his earlier work and in this book he brings nothing new to the table. A few vague and tenuous references to evidence that can't be substantiated - I don't think there was a book in this and I believe I've wasted my time and money.
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