Christian Origin Library

Books Owned and Read

My interest in Christian Origins and the historic Jesus began in earnest in early 2022 due to the influence of Rev. Dr. Henry “Digger” Creel. Then, Dr. James D. 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. 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 I will NOT make anything if you buy the book. This is my inventory for personal use and is not a list of books I necessarily recommend.

  1. By Dr. James Tabor
    • 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. 
    • Paul & Jesus, How the Apostle Transformed Christianity – Dr. James Tabor. Ordered on January 5, 2023.
    • The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find That Reveals the Birth of Christianity – Dr. James Tabor. Ordered February 19, 2023.
    • The Book of Genesis: A New Translation from the Transparent English Bible by James D. Tabor. Format: Kindle Edition. Good intro about translations.
    • 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.
    • The Book of Genesis – Dr. James Tabor – Paperback and Kindle
    • Selections from the Hebrew Bible: A New Translation from the Transparent English Bible, Paperback – August 2, 2022 by James D. Tabor (Author). Purchased 3/22/2024. The Transparent English Bible is an ongoing effort to produce a fresh new English translation of the Hebrew Bible. The idea behind this unique translation is to allow the read to peer through the English to the underlying Hebrew, preserving the rhythm, idioms, and cadence of the original. It is impeccably accurate and brings into English the freshness and feeling of reading the Hebrew directly. It makes reading the Bible a wholly new experience. The entire Book of Genesis has already been published in 2020
  2. By Dr. Bart Ehrman
  3. Concerning the DSS
  4. About Mary Magdalene
    • Gospel of Mary of Magdala, Hardcover, January 1, 2003, by Karen L King (Author). Purchased on Amazon, 11/28/2023. Lost for more than fifteen hundred years, the Gospel of Mary is the only existing early Christian gospel written in the name of a woman. Karen L. King tells the story of the recovery of this remarkable gospel and offers a new translation.
    • Mary Magdalene Understood, Paperback – October 15, 2006 by Jane Schaberg (Author), Melanie Johnson-Debaufre (Author). Purchased on Amazon, 11/28/2023. The book begins with a visit to the long-neglected site of ancient Magdala on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Unexcavated and slipping into the sea, Migdal stands as a reminder of the lost history of Mary Magdalene, and of ancient women. From Migdal, the reader moves back in history, looking through Mary’s legends to her fame and notoriety. UNDERSTOOD then explores the silence, conflation, and distortion that characterizes Mary’s afterlife in text and image.
  5. About James the brother of Jesus
    • 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.
    • The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity – Jeffrey J. Butz. Ordered January 25, 2005. A great book.
    • James the Brother of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Vol. 1 – Dr. Robert Eisenman. Ordered on January 22, 2023
    • NEED TO READ – James the Brother of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Vol. 2 – Dr. Robert Eisenman. Ordered on April 5, 2023.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. The Passover Plot – Hugh J. Schonfield, Stephen A. Engelking – Kindle Edition. Read July 2023.
  9. Those Incredible Christians – Hugh Schonfield, Stephen Engelking – Kindle Edition. Read June 2023. Very good book. Recommended by Tabor.
  10. 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.
  11. 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. Recommended by Tabor.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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. Recommended by Tabor.
  15. 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.
  16. 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. Recommended by Tabor.
  17. The History of the Church: A New Translation  Kindle Edition by Eusebius of Caesarea (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition. Translation by Jeremy M. Schott. Tabor’s former colleague at UNC Charlotte. This new translation, which includes detailed essays and notes, comes from one of the leading scholars of Eusebius’s work and offers rich context for the linguistic, cultural, social, and political background of this seminal text. Accessible for new readers and thought-provoking for specialists, this is the essential text for anyone interested in the history of Christianity. Recommended by Tabor. DL’ed 1/11/2024.
  18. Creating Christ: How Roman Emperors Invented Christianity, Kindle Edition by James S. Valliant (Author), C. W. Fahy (Author) Purchased 12/24/2023. Exhaustively annotated and illustrated, this explosive work of history unearths clues that finally demonstrate the truth about one of the world’s great religions: that it was born out of the conflict between the Romans and messianic Jews who fought a bitter war with each other during the 1st Century. The Romans employed a tactic they routinely used to conquer and absorb other nations: they grafted their imperial rule onto the religion of the conquered.
  19. The Theology of St. Luke Hardcover – January 1, 1982 by Hans Conzelmann (Author). Ordered 1/24/24. As Robert J. Karris rightly says in  Invitation to Acts: A commentary on the Acts of the Apostles with complete text from the Jerusalem Bible (Doubleday New Testament commentary series) : “A groundbreaking work on Luke-Acts which propounds the view that the delay of the parousia is the occasion for Luke-Acts.” (p. 239) In his Suggestions for Further Reading, Bart Ehrman describes Conzelmann’s book in this way: “This classic study of Luke from a redaction-critical perspective argues that Luke modified the traditions that he received particularly in light of the delay of the end of time.” Ehrman adds, however, that the book is for advanced students only. Recommended by Tabor.
  20. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus: The Roots of the Problem and the Person, Vol. 1 Hardcover – November 1, 1991, by John P. Meier (Author), Joel Peter Johnson (Illustrator) Part of The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library (55 books). In this definitive book on the real, historical Jesus, one of our foremost biblical scholars meticulously sifts the evidence of 2,000 years to portray neither a rural magician nor a figure of obvious power, but a marginal Jew. Recommended by Tabor. Purchased used 1/19/2024. Read February 2024.
  21. Jesus Christ in Modern Thought, Hardcover, used – January 1, 1990 by John Macquarrie (Author). Ordered 2/21/2024. Recommended by John R. Meier in Notes to Chapter 7, Page 201, of A Marginal Jew, Vol. 1. In this long-awaited book, John Macquarrie turns to one of the few areas of Christian theology to which he has not yet devoted systematic attention that of Christology. Partially read February 2-24.
  22. The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew by George Howard. Downloaded 3/17/2024 from Academia.com. See pdf in DropBox under Scholars/George Howard.

Reference Books on Hand

  1. The Didache – A Window on the Earliest Christians – Thomas O’Loughlin. Ordered February 18, 2023.
  2. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version, Marc Brettler, Carol Newsom, Pheme Perkins. Kindle Edition
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. The Book of Sirach by Ben Sirach. Format: Kindle Edition.

Bought But Not Read or Completed in Addition to Those Cited Above

  • The Gnostic Gospels, Hardcover – November 12, 1979 by Elaine Pagels (Author). Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time. A provocative study of the gnostic gospels and the world of early Christianity as revealed through the Nag Hammadi texts. Ordered 3/12/2024. Go to the Amazon page for a good excerpt from the book: The Controversy over Christ’s Resurrection: Historical Event or Symbol?
  • Women Remembered: Jesus’ Female Disciples by Helen BondJoan TaylorJoan E. Taylor. Hardback. Ordered 2/20/2024. Inspired by their popular Channel 4 documentary Jesus’ Female Disciples, historians Helen Bond and Joan Taylor explore the way in which Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary, Martha and a whole host of other women – named and unnamed – have been remembered by posterity, noting how many were silenced, tamed or slurred by innuendo …
  • 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 Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian Church: A Study of the Effects of the Jewish Overthrow of AD 70 on Christianity, 2nd Edition Paperback – June 1, 2010, by S. G. F. Brandon (Author). Recd 11/15/2023. What lies between the authoritative preeminence of the Mother Church of Jerusalem and the virtual extinction both of its life and apparently of all its local records? Dr. Brandon finds that the full significance of the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 has been strangely neglected amongst scholars. In this original and exhaustive study he shows that this catastrophic event was of profound importance not only for the development of early Christianity but possibly also for its very survival.
  • A Synoptic Harmony of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles: With Related Passages from Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezra Paperback – October 19, 2006, by James Newsome (Editor). Students of the Old Testament have long recognized that in the two histories of the Hebrew monarchies, Samuel/Kings and Chronicles, a literary relationship exists which is akin to that of the Synoptic Gospels of the New Testament. From the Foreword
  • Jesus the Magician: A Renowned Historian Reveals How Jesus was Viewed by People of His Time Paperback – August 27, 2014 by Morton Smith (Author), Bart D. Ehrman (Foreword). Purchased on March 15, 2024, and completed 3/19/2024. This book challenges traditional Christian teaching about Jesus. While his followers may have seen him as a man from heaven, preaching the good news and working miracles, Smith asserts that the truth about Jesus is more interesting and rather unsettling. The real Jesus, only barely glimpsed because of a campaign of disinformation, obfuscation, and censorship by religious authorities, was not Jesus the Son of God. In actuality he was Jesus the Magician. Smith marshals all the available evidence including, but not limited to, the Gospels. He succeeds in describing just what was said of Jesus by “outsiders,” those who did not believe him.
  • The Myth of Christian Beginnings: History’s Impact on Belief by Robert Louis Wilken. Tabor said – If you have never read this important and influential work I highly recommend it. It will transform your understanding of earliest Christianity and how it unfolded. Bought from Abe Books on 4/7/2024. From Amazon –  With lively examples from the Christian past Wilken shows that change has been an abiding feature of Christian tradition. Often those who proposed new ways of thinking and acted in unexpected ways turned out to be more faithful than those who repeated the old formulas. As much as the past may give specificity and concreteness to renewal in the present Christian hope is set on things that are yet to be.
  • The Beloved Disciple: Whose Witness Validates the Gospel of John? Hardcover – January 1, 1995 by James H. Charlesworth (Author). Ordered 4/1/24. About Thomas as the Beloved Disciple.

All books above are owned in the paper version unless otherwise stated. A Kindle Paperwhite was acquired on 6/18/23. An Amazon Fire 7 tablet was ordered on 9/19/2023.