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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best book I ever read on the subject
I have read many books about Christianity and Jesus historic discussion; besides that I watch every Tv program that discusses this time of history. I read the portuguese translation of this book. Well, I have to say that this is, probably, the best book I ever read on the subject. Allegro became a largely polemic historian when he spoke about his theory that the New...
Published on 16 April 1999

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Controversial and largely convincing reading
Allegro may have been in the firing line for many of his extreme beliefs, but with this work he has done us all a great service. "The Teacher of Light" may or may not be Jesus. What Allegro does provide, is the air of expectancy that was around at the same time as the man we know as Jesus. Although, not a Chistian myself, I have just read the exceptional and...
Published on 27 Jan. 1998


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Controversial and largely convincing reading, 27 Jan. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth (Paperback)
Allegro may have been in the firing line for many of his extreme beliefs, but with this work he has done us all a great service. "The Teacher of Light" may or may not be Jesus. What Allegro does provide, is the air of expectancy that was around at the same time as the man we know as Jesus. Although, not a Chistian myself, I have just read the exceptional and inspiring "THE Autobiography of Jesus of Nazareth and the Missing years" by Richard G. Patton. Patton depicts a very human being against the background that Allegro sets. Anyone that makes us question should be applauded. Allegro does just that. Patton does it in spades. Highly recommended.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best book I ever read on the subject, 16 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth (Paperback)
I have read many books about Christianity and Jesus historic discussion; besides that I watch every Tv program that discusses this time of history. I read the portuguese translation of this book. Well, I have to say that this is, probably, the best book I ever read on the subject. Allegro became a largely polemic historian when he spoke about his theory that the New Testament episodes were evoked by mushrooms' consumption and not by real events. Unlike Kersten, Messadié and other polemical authors, John Allegro doesn't fall in just an easy speculation completely without logic and strong historical evidence. No, Allegro knows deeply the religious background of the Essenians and other Near-East cults. He can so easily describe the rituals and beliefs of those strange gnostic movements that one feels like we're actually reliving those past times with them: the reader can see the Ancient World through the eyes and words of John Allegro. Although, the majority of historians believe that Jesus really existed, even if some of the events written in the New Testament may have not happened like that, there is one thing that must be stated: we found no strong proof of Jesus existence to this day. There is no record of Jesus from his age. The original Gospels were only written some 40 or 50 years after Jesus death and may have been badly translated by the posterior Gentile christians: we can read only the remains of the greek Gospels and never the originals (if there were any real originals). The 1st century roman and jewish historians don't know anything of importance about Jesus, even though they knew of the Christian movement. Even the early III century's Catholic Christian patriarchs seem to be greatly ignorant of their early antecessors history and do not provide any actually historical background of the age or for the original Hebrew records: any knowledge of the real events of the past is lost to them and only tradition remains. Most of the Testimonium Flavianum of Flavius Josephus is know believed to have been forged by some Christian copist and doesn't still represent a strong argument to Jesus existence, because Josephus could have been deceived by some popular stories told by the Christian tradition which may not be historically true. Besides, the stories spoken in the Gospels seem to be intended mostly for preaching and not for historical background: many of the events and rituals described in essential episodes don't match our knowledge of the age. Pilatos wasn't a coward governor afraid of cruxifying a Jewish rebel and Pilatos didn't convert to Christianism like the sayings of the Christian tradition: Pilatos was dimissed by the Emperor by his excessive ruthlessness towards the people in 36 and committed suicide in Vienna shortly after; there wasn't any roman census at the time of Herodes (because Judea wasn't a roman province at the time); there isn't any evidence about a roman tradition of releasing a prisoner by the time of Easter (and it is most unlikely that something like that could happen in a Roman Province) and the Jewish law forbids the Sinedrius of arresting and executing people during Easter time (it is very doubtful that such a transgression of the Law should be made by the Sinedrius). Well, Allegro doesn't talk about many similarities between Christian beliefs and the cults of Dyonisius and Mythra, much popular at the time. But he gives us an interesting perspective. An ancient parchment of the Gospel of Marcos was found in Qumran. Many of the beliefs of the Essenians ressemble early christianity and the Teacher of Righteousness life also reminds us of the Jesus tale. Allegro explores with great insight the rituals and life in Qumran, concluding that the christian tales appeared after the fall of Qumran, when the group dispersed itself. The tales of Christ must have been symbolic lessons told by a group of former Essenians, and some people which adopted the christian beliefs - without understanding the mystic order of these tales - thought them to be entirely true. And so the greatest fraud of History was born... Allegro knows what he's talking about and is a recognized scholar, whose knowdlege of ancient languages remains one of the best among archaelogists. His logic and cohesion of speech is unmatched. He bases his thesis on hard evidence, doesn't create absurd historical events (like Kersten) and a profound analysis of gnostic beliefs. This is a quite reasonable perspective of the ideas and forces behind early Christianity. We should be thankful for Allegro! Even if his thesis may not be 100% enlightening - some questions still remain to be answered - he has shown us another way of looking at the Christian problem. Making people think about the past is never a bad deed!
16th of April, 1999
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Allegro may be a crackpot, but this book is worth reading., 20 Mar. 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth (Paperback)
When John Allegro first characterized Christianity as the normalized, dogmatized spinoff of an ancient Levantine psylocybin cult, some demonized him, some laughed and some followed him into the darkness where drug mysticism and mainline religion can coexist.

A thousand critics poking at his every word discredited Allegro.

But is it not a logical phallacy to assume that because a person is wrong once, ever wrong shall he be?

As a student of Christian origins, I find it extremely valuable to read the writing of a scholar who begins study from the premise "Jesus did not exist" precisely because for most of us, the opposite premise is taken.

The parallels between the Qumran cult's "Teacher of Righteousness" and the Jesus figure need to be examined from more than one perspective. As is often the case, the truth here may lie somewhere between the opposing conclusions.

This is one of those works from which many will gain value by synthesizing its ideas with others. Is it unreasonable to conclude a kind of Davidian enhancement to the Jesus legend? That Jewish patriarchal typecasting has something to do with the story? That strains of the messianic spirituality nurtured at Qumran made their way into the early Church?

The historical evidence for Jesus, not to mention his cultural momentum, weighs heavily on Allegro's insistence on his non-existence. But we shouldn't let him be crushed. He's a useful Devil's advocate, if nothing more.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Controversial and largely convincing reading, 27 Jan. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth (Paperback)
Allegro may have been in the firing line for many of his extreme beliefs, but with this work he has done us all a great service. "The Teacher of Light" may or may not be Jesus. What Allegro does provide, is the air of expectancy that was around at the same time as the man we know as Jesus. Although, not a Chistian myself, I have just read the exceptional and inspiring "THE Autobiography of Jesus of Nazareth and the Missing years" by Richard G. Patton. Patton depicts a very human being against the background that Allegro sets. Anyone that makes us question should be applauded. Allegro does just that. Patton does it in spades. Highly recommended.
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Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth
Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth by John Marco Allegro (Paperback - 27 Feb. 2014)
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