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Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy (See Notice Below)

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  • hope_rosenbaum_werner@deweyballantine.com
    List Members: Who are these guys? What is their reputation? http://www.bibleinterp.com/commentary/gandy_011701.htm Best Regards, Hope her15@columbia.edu
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 2, 2001
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      List Members: Who are these guys? What is their reputation?

      http://www.bibleinterp.com/commentary/gandy_011701.htm

      Best Regards,
      Hope

      her15@...





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    • David C. Hindley
      Hope, ... Two authors who like controversial subjects. Freke seems to be the idea man, and I imagine that Gandy is the guy who does the composing. As one of
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 2, 2001
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        Hope,

        >>Who are these guys? What is their reputation?<<

        Two authors who like controversial subjects. Freke seems to be the
        idea man, and I imagine that Gandy is the guy who does the composing.

        As one of the reviews linked to their web page says, the idea is not
        new. The parallels with Dionysius were apparent to pagans as early as
        the mid 2nd century (Celsus draws attention to it, and possibly Pliny
        the Younger ca. 117). Earlier than that I am not so sure, and this is
        where many biblical scholars will no doubt disagree with them.

        In the past I have noted that Jewish tradition seems to confuse the
        Jesus of the Christians with a figure who lived about 100 years
        earlier in the reign of Alexander Janneus. The parallels with Pagan
        religious traditions have been seriously studied since the 19th
        century, especially among those associated with the "History of
        Religions" school of thought. I'm sure you'll find something about the
        19th and very early 20th century works on the subject in A.
        Schweitzer's _Quest_. In more recent times I have read _Religious
        Syncretism in Antiquity_ (AAR Series on Formative Contemporary
        Thinkers, vol 1, ed. Birger Pearson, Scholars Press, 1975) which is a
        collection of essays concerned with how and why one tradition gets
        combined with another. In between these extremes I am a little fuzzy
        on details...

        However, there has been widespread resistance to the idea that Jesus
        is an entirely mythical figure, as it seems too much other evidence
        exists that he once existed. Where everyone differs in opinion is in
        defining what kind of person the historical figure actually was, and
        what kinds of things he would have likely done. There are minimalists
        (and I confess to being one) and maximalists (by far the majority).
        How much of that evidence is historical and how much is legend or myth
        is the question, and perhaps the authors in question can expand some
        of our perspectives.

        Regards,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      • David C. Hindley
        Hope, I was able to buy a copy of this book a couple days ago. According to the dust jacket, Timothy Freke has a BA in philosophy and Peter Gandy has a MA in
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 10, 2001
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          Hope,

          I was able to buy a copy of this book a couple days ago. According to
          the dust jacket, Timothy Freke has a BA in philosophy and Peter Gandy
          has a MA in classical civilizations, and have co-authored three
          previous books, _The Complete Guide to World Mysticism_, _Hermetica:
          The Lost Wisdom of the Pharoahs_ and _The Wisdom of the Pagan
          Philosophers_. Pretty much popular level stuff, it seems.

          Usually when I check out a new book I look first at the critical
          notes. These take up about 64 pages out of a total of 343 (18% of the
          book), and it appears they want this book to be taken seriously. These
          cite all sorts of authorities, including primary sources, but rely
          heavily on secondary sources even for points that are seminal to their
          thesis. They also have a bibliography (7 pages with roughly 220 works
          cited), which features authors who are all over the map as far as
          orientation. I noticed J. Allegro, G. R. S. Mead, G. A. Wells, and
          Carl Jung mixed in with specialists on the Greek mysteries and
          translations of the classics (no LCL editions, only Penguin editions).

          Another technique I like to employ is to look at the final chapter
          first, as this usually tells you the most about the authors'
          orientation and/or agendas. They appear to believe that "[m]ystics of
          all spiritual traditions have taught that there is only one Truth,
          ever present and never changing" (pg 255). To them, Christian
          mythology was created to serve the purposes of a mystery religion and
          is not based in any way on a real Jesus, but rather is synthesized
          from the common myths of mystery religions in general. This truth has
          been hijacked in the interests of "Literalist Christianity," which
          "has ... been the cause of deep divisions". They hope that their Jesus
          Mysteries Thesis (it's official, I guess) will offer an "opportunity
          to heal the wounds left in the Western soul by these dreadful schisms"
          (pg 254).

          Reading through several chapters, I found them using generalities
          quite a bit more than made me comfortable. The portions on the
          mysteries themselves are less tedious than those on Christianity,
          which almost come across as a lecture (in the negative sense). They
          come across as people who "know" exactly what has going on in ancient
          minds, and all things seem to be interpreted from their perspective
          that a universal mystical truth existed (and exists).

          As for the parallels between Christian traditions and the myths of the
          mystery religions, which on the face of things do make me scratch my
          head and ponder, I would think that the reader would derive most
          benefit by tracing back the footnotes to the primary source documents
          and creating a database of parallels as well as devising a means to
          grade their similarities and differences. The worse that could happen
          would be that the reader would know a whole lot more about such
          parallels than s/he did before. I am very probably going to do just
          this at some point in the future, solely due to the prompting of this
          book.

          Regards,

          Dave Hindley
          Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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