This is a very helpful book for those who feel the need to know more historical facts about Jesus Christ. It has been well researched from secular records of the time as well as material from biblical writings. It has changed my perception of Jesus' status, particularly the likelihood of his education and training as a rabbi during the "hidden years". It all makes factual sense. Many of my church friends have read it and changed their perceptions too. It is a very positive help to Christian belief.
Although this is quite a small book in size (especially by the normal standards of theology books!), it is actually a very large book in terms of the history and theology presented within it.
The case is made for Joseph not to have been an ordinary 'jobbing carpenter' but actually to have been a master builder/architect who was personally very much involved in the reconstruction of the Temple under Herod. This is not simply the author's opinion but is carefully backed up by appropriate scriptural, linguistic and historical proofs.
From here equally succinctly, carefully and logically, the author builds his case that Jesus was not a poor untrained itinerant preacher but a fully trained accredited Rabbi who had been educated fully in Torah (written and Oral) in the Temple at Jerusalem. To the other evidence, the author adds his own professional knowledge in psychiatry to delve into the complex inter relationships of that time, especially the view of Jesus held at different times by the orthodox religious leaders in Jerusalem.
The book is a good read. It is a fascinating hypothesis but not only that, thinking about the evidence presented with an open mind lends you to the conclusion that the hypothesis must indeed be correct, so much better does it fit the evidence and especially both Jewish beliefs and 'New Testament' scripture than the more generally accepted view. 'Generally accepted' here means in Christian terms. As the author points out, Judaism has consistently accepted Jesus as being a fully trained Rabbi (although apart from Messianic Jews not of course as the Christ).
If you ever thought that Jesus really could not just have been an untrained itinerant carpenter, read this book and confirm your own thoughts. If you are convinced that he was, read this book and think about the subject again. If you are unsure and have an open mind read this book and see where the evidence points.
In all events read this book and even if you do not accept the hypothesis, at least gain more knowledge of the history, customs and theology of this era and thus gain a greater depth of your knowledge of Jesus and his earthly life.
Ishmael (Christian author, internationally acclaimed Christian song-writer and Deacon of Chichester Cathedral) calls it "The most interesting book that I have read in years". Starting from the identification via Roman history of Joseph, Jesus's father, as the architect of Herod's Temple, Dr Bradford uses new behavioural science models of human psychology to conclusively show that Jesus was at the pinnacle of the Jewish theological and so legal society of his day. This amazing book answers these questions: (taken from the website)
Joseph is described as a `tekton' - but who were the tektons? Why was King Herod the Great re-building the Temple? The Temple was a functioning holy site - how does the historical record describe its construction? Why did the 12 year old Jesus ask his parents why they had not looked for him at first in his `father's house'? (Luke 2:49) Is the idea of Jesus being uneducated consistent with his being the son of devout Jewish parents? What was happening with the Doctors of the Law in the Temple in Luke chapter 2? What does the Mishnah say about the age of 30 with regard to public speaking? Why is Christ addressed commonly with official Jewish religious titles of great respect? Where were the Temple Guard on the two occasions that Jesus cleared out the official money changers and sellers of sacrificial animals in the Temple? Why was Christ never sidelined or ridiculed by the Jewish authorities? Why was Saul of Tarsus' reaction to Christ so violent?
BE AWARE THAT USED COPIES OF THIS BOOK WILL NOT BE THE UPTO DATE EDITION, WHICH CONTAINS MORE INFORMATION THAN THE ORIGINAL. The Templehouse website has an mp3 link there to a lecture that outlines the book's main points, so you can listen for yourself. But having read the book, I know there is a lot more there than the lecture covers. I have never heard of a money-back guarantee on a new book before - but having read it I can understand why! It is honestly amazing. It puts Jesus at the very top of scholarly life in Israel, which, when you think about it, makes a heck of a lot of sense...
For anyone who has an interest in the life of Jesus, this book puts forth a reasonable and well-thought out hypothesis of Christ's missing years. The author explains the historical foundation for his reasoning by using what is known about 1st century Jewish traditions and religious law, and extrapolating to fill in the missing pieces. This is a book for the "everyman" historian. It deserves a place on your bookshelf.
I have shared the book with friends after reading it myself. we were all very critical. We were won over . The work to produce the book was accurate when one reviews the book in conjunction with the Bible and other works we used. I so enjoy reading practical truth regarding a subject that has had so much fantasy written about it. The book has helped me view religious history in a more factual manner.
Many remain ignorant about the riches and depth of Christs life. Dr Bradford dispels soft sentimental views of a "christmas card " soft focus type Jesus and introduces us to a real man who was outstanding in his time and servant of His generation. Provides insight that should be of benefit to believers and seekers alike, and food for thought for scholars.
I particularly enjoyed the medical illuminations and the understanding Dr Bradford has of Jewish attitudes and political intrigues of the day.