Christian Origin Books

Those Read

My interest in Christian Origins began in early 2022 due to the influence of Dr. Henry “Digger” Creel. Dr. Tabor’s book, The Jesus Dynasty, showed me what the Origins quest could yield once the message of Paul was understood, the real message of Jesus could be seen, and access to more factual history that is not theologically biased. Click here for Tabor’s web page about his books. The italicized text below is from Amazon or other websites. If you found this page then know that when you click a link and find yourself on an Amazon page that I will not make anything if you buy the book.

  1. The Jesus Dynasty: A New Historical Investigation of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity – Dr. James Tabor. Ordered on October 5, 2022. Draws on ancient documents and recent archaeological discoveries to present a controversial alternative interpretation of early Christian history that claims that Jesus intended for His changes to be contained within Israel and that Paul deviated from Jesus’s plan by bringing Christianity into the Roman Empire. 
  2. Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition (Studies on Personalities of the New Testament – John Painter. Ordered on November 19, 2022. Just James provides a fascinating treatment of Jesus’ brother based on all the ancient sources: New Testament, early church fathers, Nag Hammadi codices, and other early Christian writings. Painter evaluates the importance of this towering figure of the early church whose contributions have been obscured from the consciousness of modern Christianity. The author explores James’ relationship to Jesus, Mary’s perpetual virginity, James’ receipt of special revelations from the risen Lord, and his status as one of the first martyrs of the church.
  3. Paul & Jesus, How the Apostle Transformed Christianity – Dr. James Tabor. Ordered on January 5, 2023.
  4. The Secret Legacy of Jesus. The Secret Legacy of Jesus: The Judaic Teachings That Passed from James the Just to the Founding Fathers – Jeffrey J. Butz. Ordered on February 3, 2023. Shows how the true teachings of Jesus were passed down through the centuries and shaped the vision of the Founding Fathers
  5. The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity – Jeffrey J. Butz. Ordered January 25, 2005. A great book.
  6. James the Brother of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Vol. 1 – Dr. Robert Eisenman. Ordered on January 22, 2023
  7. The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find That Reveals the Birth of Christianity – Dr. James Tabor. Ordered February 19, 2023.
  8. Paul’s Ascent to Paradise: The Apostolic Message and Mission of Paul in the Light of His Mystical Experiences Paperback – Ordered August 19, 2020 – Dr. James D. Tabor. In this “compulsively readable exploration of the tangled world of Christian origins” (Publishers Weekly), religious historian James Tabor illuminates the earliest years of Jesus’ teachings before Paul shaped them into the religion we know today. This fascinating examination of the earliest years of Christianity reveals how the man we call St. Paul shaped Christianity as we know it today.
  9. The Synoptic Problem: Four Views – Stanley E. Porter & Bryan R. Dyer – Kindle version. Ordered June 18, 2023. This up-to-date introduction articulates and debates the four major views. Following an overview of the issues, leading proponents of each view set forth their positions and respond to each of the other views. A concluding chapter summarizes the discussion and charts a direction for further study.
  10. The Passover Plot – Hugh J. Schonfield, Stephen A. Engelking – Kindle Edition. Read July 2023.
  11. Those Incredible Christians – Hugh Schonfield, Stephen Engelking – Kindle Edition. Read June 2023. Very good book
  12. Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?: The Witness of the New Testament (Wipf & Stock, 2000). If you have not read this little 60-page book, but are interested in the history of ideas in western antiquity, it is a must-read. Tabor. Read July 2023.
  13. The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context; by James F. McGrath. Format: Kindle Edition. Discussion of monotheism in the time of Jesus and Paul and its various versions.
  14. The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity, Kindle Edition by Keith Akers. Read July 2023. Very good presentation of the evolution of Christianity from Jesus’ teaching to what today’s protestants and Catholics teach.
  15. Archaeology of Jesus’ Nazareth Kindle Edition by Ken Dark (Author). Format: Kindle Edition. Read August 2023. Recommended by Tabor here. Archaeology of Jesus’ Nazareth is the first book on the archaeology of first-century Nazareth: Jesus’ hometown in Galilee. Requiring no previous knowledge of biblical history or archaeology, it outlines the latest archaeological evidence, placing the Gospels’ account of Jesus’ youth in the Bible, and the origins of Christian pilgrimage, in a new context. The book concentrates on the fascinating Sisters of Nazareth site in the centre of the present city. 
  16. The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine. Kindle edition was acquired on July 29, 2023 and read in early August. In The Misunderstood Jew, scholar Amy-Jill Levine helps Christians and Jews understand the “Jewishness” of Jesus so that their appreciation of him deepens and a greater interfaith dialogue can take place.
  17. The Book of Genesis: A New Translation from the Transparent English Bible by James D. Tabor. Format: Kindle Edition. Good intro about translations.
  18. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, Kindle Edition by Bart D. Ehrman. Downloaded 8/17/2023. Read by 8/20/2023. When world-class biblical scholar Bart Ehrman first began to study the texts of the Bible in their original languages he was startled to discover the multitude of mistakes and intentional alterations that had been made by earlier translators. In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman tells the story behind the mistakes and changes that ancient scribes made to the New Testament and shows the great impact they had upon the Bible we use today. 
  19. Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them), Kindle Edition, by Bart D. Ehrman (Author). Ordered 8/14/2023 and read it. This is a great book that is written for a layman but with 20% of the pages link to supporting footnotes for his positions.

Reference Books on Hand

  1. The Didache – A Window on the Earliest Christians – Thomas O’Loughlin. Ordered February 18, 2023.
  2. The Book of Genesis – Dr. James Tabor – Paperback and Kindle
  3. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version, Marc Brettler, Carol Newsom, Pheme Perkins. Kindle Edition
  4. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English (7th Edition) (Penguin Classics); by Geza Vermes. Kindle Edition
  5. The Books of Enoch: Complete edition: Including (1) The Ethiopian Book of Enoch, (2) The Slavonic Secrets, and (3) The Hebrew Book of Enoch by Paul Schnieders (Author), Robert Charles (Translator) Format: Kindle Edition. Ordered June 26, 2023.
  6. New Testament Apocrypha and Early Church Fathers Kindle Edition by Ante-Nicene Fathers (Author), Early Church Father (Author), Pontius Pilate (Author),  Nicodemus (Author), Clement (Author), Librainia (Editor).  Format: Kindle Edition
  7. The Book of Sirach by Ben Sirach. Format: Kindle Edition

Bought But Not Yet Read

  • The Gospel of the Savior, translated from the discovered Coptic version by Charles W. Hedrick and Paul A. Mirecki. The pieces found leave a lot of holes in the text.
  • James the Brother of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Vol. 2 – Dr. Robert Eisenman. Ordered on April 5, 2023.
  • Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) Paperback – January 1, 1992 by James H. Charlesworth (Author). Ordered 8/7/2023. A leading expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls explains why they are among the most important archaeological finds in history, and explores how they have revolutionized our understanding of Jesus.
  • The New Testament: History, Literature, and Social Context 4th Edition by Dennis C. Duling (Author). Ordered 8/7/2023. The latest edition of THE NEW TESTAMENT: PROCLAMATION AND PARENESIS, like its predecessors, (originally co-authored by Walter Perrin–Tabor’s guy) takes its primary orientation from recent developments in the social sciences.
  • The Upper Room and Tomb of David: The History, Art and Archaeology of the Cenacle on Mount Zion, Kindle Edition by David Christian Clausen (Author). Purchased 8/11/2023. It has been a church, a mosque and a synagogue. Jesus is said to have dined there. James, his brother, is believed to have been interred there. King David may be buried beneath its floor. The subject of intense speculation by both scholars and the faithful, the Cenacle on Mount Zion–also known as the Upper Room of the New Testament gospels and as the Tomb of David–has remained a mystery for centuries.
  • The Quest of the Historical Jesus. Kindle Edition by Albert Schweitzer (Author) Purchased 8/11/2023. A seminal work, Schweitzer’s book brings into focus the social and political currents of Jesus’s time to rebut previous authors’ hypotheses and form an entirely new one of his own. A milestone text in its time, Schweitzer’s book was so dominant that virtually no new scholarly investigations of the historical Jesus were published for decades after its initial release. 

All books above are owned in the paper version unless otherwise stated. A Kindle Paperwhite was acquired on 6/18/23.