Top critical review
53 of 57 people found this helpful
on 22 May 2006
To an extent. Some of what is contained in this book is documented historical fact, and as a professional historian, I'm always delighted when material is presented in a fashion that interests a wider audience. I view this sort of thing as the written equivalent of a cinematic 'historical' epic. Is is particularly accurate? No. But it doesn't pretend to be either -the authors do stress that many of their conclusions are conjecture, no more. What it is, is entertaining, and will introduce people who might never otherwise have taken an interest in history to, to take a single example, the Crusades. And that's fine by me -it might well prompt them to take a greater interest in history in the future.
There are inumerable problems of course. For each of the documented facts, there are at least a dozen erroneous ones. Much of the source material utilised is questionable at the very best. And yet I still find myself unable to condem them, as I would with many other books, for, as I mentioned above, they stress the fact that their conjectures lack proof. The book itself is actually well written for what it is; unusual for a book with several authors, it is sensibly set out, the style[s] is / are fluid and readable, and it's good fun.
Some suggest this book is blasphemous. Fair enough, that's their opinion, though I don't share or even understand it. As far as I know, there is nothing in the Bible, or accepted Christian doctine, that states that Jesus could, or perhaps I should say, 'should' not, have been married. I don't believe it (part of me would like to), but I fail to see what is so very wrong about the idea. He was supposed to be a Man as well as the Son of God -that was the whole point insofar as I am aware. Still, if you are going to be upset by it, don't bother to read. Save yourself the money, the time, and the raised blood pressure. The rest of you -give it a try. Something to look at on holiday, provided that you go in with a mind open enough to accept a new idea, and sceptical enough to appreciate the limitations.