Jesus was murdered by the Jewish religious leaders whose power base was the temple of Jerusalem. Saul of Tarsus--later the Paul of Christianity--was one of these, and his brand of faith theology mirrored their theology of covenantal entitlement. Thus, Christianity's basic theological principles derive from those who killed Jesus. This is just one of many challenging propositions backed with strong evidence that appear in this book. Jesus, like most Jews, was attuned to faithfulness rather than pure faith, to ethical behavior based on human empathy rather than metaphysical beliefs and rituals. The central focus of Jesus was hesed, the heart of the Jewish covenant with God which linked God's mercy to human compassion and forgiveness, making both mutually interactive. This hesed forgiveness was anathema to the temple's faux forgiveness and threatened its very existence. Therefore, Jesus came not to save us, but to show us how to save ourselves. Reinterpreting a key parable of Jesus in this light, the Parable of the Tares, Jesus can be most plausibly understood as an incarnation of Adam, the original prototype human who God, in Genesis, appointed to oversee his creation and guide our spiritual evolution. His mission was not about any sacrificial death, but about establishing the spiritual humanism of Judaic hesed as the central purpose of human existence.
This volume brings together a rich and varied collection of essays by Gilles Quispel (1916-2006), Professor of the History of the Early Church at Utrecht University from 1951 until his retirement in 1983. During his illustrious career, Professor Quispel was also visiting Professor at Harvard University in 1964/65, and visiting Professor at the Catholic University of Leuven from 1969 until 1974. The fifty essays collected in this volume testify to most of the prominent themes from Professor Quispela (TM)s scholarly career: the writings of the Nag Hammadi library in general and the "Gospel of Thomas" in particular; Tatiana (TM)s "Diatessaron" and its influences; the "Hermetica"; Mani and Manichaeism; the Jewish origins of Gnosticism; and Gnosis and the future of Christianity. This volume also makes a number of his less known earlier publications (mainly presented under the heading a ~Catholicaa (TM)) available to the international community. Until shortly before he died, Professor Quispel remained active in his study of the "Gospel of Thomas." He had been one of the first to acquire the Coptic text of the "Gospel of Thomas," of which he published the first translation in 1959 and his final translation in 2005. He was also active in researching the "Diatessaron," and Valentinus a ~the Gnostica (TM). One of his most recent essays a " published for the first time in this volume a " is on a ~the Muslim Jesus.a (TM)