The True Origins
of Christianity and the Bible
by Andrew D. Benson Come to the reading room:
This book presents facts useful for evaluating the nature of the Bible and Christianity. This is a scholarly presentation of facts. Compare these facts to what you already know. Then draw your own conclusions. You do not have to be well versed in the Bible to read this book.
this book, Mr. Benson has assembled a massive amount of research on the Bible, Judaism,
early Christianity, and their roots in other ancient religions, and organized it into a
highly interesting and readable reference volume.
See brief overview at the bottom of this page.
Those who have read this book are impressed. Here is one response:
"I consider Mr. Benson's book the best presentation of the history of Christianity and the evolvement of the Bible and feel there is a pressing need of such a text for Christians as well as non-Christians."
Ms M.F. from Sacramento, CA, USA
The Forces that Formed Judeo-Christianity
SECTION I. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BIBLE
The first section deals with how the books of the Bible originated, who wrote them, and how they were maintained, copied, translated, and canonized. Knowing the history of the biblical text enables one to evaluate the nature of Christianity and the Bible.
SECTION II. THE HISTORY OF GOD FROM ABRAHAM TO THE EXILE
This section traces the origin of the god of Abraham and the beginning of Judaism. It documents how the early Hebrews acquired their ideas about God from the Canaanites and the Egyptians. Gods striking similarities to other ancient gods are pointed out by placing biblical verses next to quotations from ancient Near Eastern writings that predate the Bible. This section shows various passages of the Old Testament that were borrowed from other cultures: Egyptian, Babylonian, Canaanite, and Greek.
SECTION III. THE HISTORY OF ETERNAL LIFE FROM THE EXILE TO THE CHRISTIAN ERA
This section shows how the idea of eternal life was absent for early Judaism, how after the exile (586-538 BCE) and especially during the Hellenistic era (beginning 331 BCE) Zoroastrianism, Plato, and the Greek mystery religions inspired the biblical writers with their ideas of salvation and eternal life. This section documents with numerous quotations from ancient writings the flow of influence into Judeo-Christianity. One chapter shows how the idea of Satan originated after the exile and how it developed during the Hellenistic era.
SECTION IV. HOW CHRISTIANITY ORIGINATED
This section shows the religious syncretism between Judaism and the Greek culture and mystery religions in Palestine and Alexandria during the Hellenistic Era, before Jesus. From this syncretism evolved Christianity. Most Christian ideas were conceived in Alexandria before Jesus. The catalysts for the transformation of Judaism into Christianity were the Hellenist Jews in Alexandria, mainly Philo (ca. 20-15 BCE to 45-50 CE). This section documents how Philo inspired New Testament writers (especially John and Paul) with his innovative ideas about a divine being whom he considered the Word of God, the mediator of God, the son of God who existed before the creation of the world, through whom God created the world, the high priest who offers his life for the salvation of mankind. This section also examines the history of the early Church in Jerusalem before the writing of the gospels, and how Paul and the Hellenist Christians (the promoters of the divine Jesus) triumphed over the Jewish Christians (the followers of the historical Jesus).
SECTION V. UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF JESUS
This section compares various historical writings of the Greco-Roman era (especially the writings of Josephus) to the New Testament. These comparisons help us understand the nature of the historical Jesus. Comparisons between the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Talmud, and the New Testament shed additional light on the historical Jesus. Comparisons between the god Asclepius, the god Hercules. and Jesus show that the divine qualities that were attributed to Jesus were common. This section shows that several of the sayings of Jesus existed in documents before his time.
SECTION VI. FLAWS IN THE TESTIMONY FOR JESUS
This section analyzes the validity of the gospels, how the testimony for Jesus was put together, how long it took to assemble it, how it was altered in the process of copying, and how translators have altered it in their translations. It analyzes disparities between the gospels, which reveal that parts of the story of Jesus were fabricated.
SECTION VII. HOW JESUS WAS TURNED INTO GOD
This section examines the meaning of the terms "god" and "son of God" during the time of Jesus. At that time these terms did not have the meaning we give them today. This section shows with historical examples how easy it was to become a god during the time of Jesus. It presents comparisons between verses of New Testament books written in successive periods, which reveal the evolution of Jesus from a man to a god. It then traces in the writings of early Church fathers the evolution of Jesus from a god into God.
SECTION VII. DISPARITIES OF THE BIBLE; SECTION VIII. PROPHECIES THAT FAILED
The last two sections display the disparities and failed prophecies of the Bible. Knowing these one can determine whether the Bible is the infallible Word of God or man-made literature.
This appendix presents modern Christian practices that originated in paganism. They are further evidence suggesting the origins of Christianity.
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This book compiles the findings of more than one hundred renowned biblical scholars. It is thoroughly documented with over 1,900 footnotes, which refer you to over 190 authoritative sources: scholarly books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and the Bible.