10 books like The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity

By Jeffrey J. Butz,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Jesus Dynasty

By James D. Tabor,

Book cover of The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity

A well-written, well researched book by a prominent American archeologist and New Testament scholar that examines what we can now reliably know about the Jesus of history. Tabor carefully sifts through the conflicting evidence in the gospels, written 40-70 years after the death of Jesus, and illuminates his discussion with contemporary archeological finds. A paradigm changer in our search for the historical Jesus, not the Christ of faith.

The Jesus Dynasty

By James D. Tabor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jesus Dynasty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you thought Dan Brown's fiction was gripping, try the truth. This controversial book pieces together new evidence on the real life of Jesus. The true inspiration behind Kathy Reich's bestselling thriller, "Crossbones", archaeologist and scholar James Tabor takes us on a startling journey that changes the story of Christianity as we know it. Based on hand-on archaeological experience and ground-breaking academic research, real-life Indiana Jones, James Tabor, has produced a compelling and bold new interpretation of the life of Jesus and the origins of Christianity. So impressive is his work that Kathy Reichs, bestselling mystery writer of the "Tempe…


The Mythmaker

By Hyam Maccoby,

Book cover of The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity

If we only had Paul to rely on for our knowledge of Jesus’ life, all we’d know is that he was born, was Jewish, had brothers and died. Written by a British academic, The Mythmaker is a break-through book that shows how Paul created Christianity by developing a mythology/theology about the significance of the death of Jesus as a Christ. Maccoby’s thought is further developed in my book, How Jesus Became Christian (2008) that demonstrates how different Paul’s religion was from that of Jesus.

The Mythmaker

By Hyam Maccoby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mythmaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Argues that Jesus Christ never broke away from Judaism and that the Christian religion was founded by Paul


Lost Christianities

By Bart D. Ehrman,

Book cover of Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew

Ehrman’s many books are worthy of study, especially this one which shows how Christianity developed over the first three centuries. The older view, that there was one mainstream church surrounded by many smaller deviant sects or “heresies” has now been discarded. Prior to Constantine, there were many groups all claiming to be Christian and no one was dominant. Each battled for supremacy. Only in the 4th century CE did one faction emerge as dominant, the group favored by two Roman Emperors, Constantine and Theodosius.

Lost Christianities

By Bart D. Ehrman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lost Christianities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human.
In Lost Christianities, Bart D. Ehrman offers a fascinating look at these early forms of Christianity and shows how they came to be suppressed, reformed, or forgotten. All of these groups insisted that they upheld the teachings…


Constantine's Sword

By James Christopher Carroll,

Book cover of Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews, A History

In Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews, James Carroll, a former Catholic priest turned journalist and novelist, delivers a powerful indictment of the politicized religion that from the time of Constantine the Great persecuted heretics, non-Romans, and, most of all, Jews. Carroll’s historical account is colorful and accurate, but what this book mostly does is exorcise a demon that plagued the author personally for years: his shared responsibility as a Catholic believer and official for an anti-Semitic tradition that helped generate the Holocaust. This is a stirring job of writing that looks forward to Carroll’s later work as a novelist, including his lovely take on the story of  Abelard and Heloise, The Cloister (Anchor, 2019).     

Constantine's Sword

By James Christopher Carroll,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Constantine's Sword as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bold and moving book tracing the two-thousand-year course of the Church's battle against Judaism by National Book Award–winning author James Carroll.

More than a chronicle of religion, this dark history is the central tragedy of Western civilization. The Church’s failure to protest the Holocaust—the infamous “silence” of Pius XII—is only part of the story: the death camps, Carroll shows, are the culmination of a long, entrenched tradition of anti-Judaism. From Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus on the cross, to Constantine’s transformation of the cross into a sword, to the rise of blood libels, scapegoating, and modern anti-Semitism,…


What Jesus Started

By Steve Addison,

Book cover of What Jesus Started: Joining the Movement, Changing the World

Addison’s book lengthens and broadens Coleman’s Master Plan. While Coleman focuses on Jesus’ selection, training, and sending of his twelve closest disciples, Addison also examines what Jesus did before he named the Twelve, including rich historical background of his ministry context in first-century Palestine. In this way, Addison sheds light on how to engage unreached people who are still far from committing themselves to learn from Jesus.

Addison discerns a recurring six-step pattern in Jesus’ activity, in the early Palestinian church, in Paul’s Mediterranean travels, and in global disciple-making movements today. Importantly, he lays out these steps in a way that contemporary Western Christians unused to Jesus’ method can begin practicing them together.

What Jesus Started

By Steve Addison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Jesus Started as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year Sometimes we get so caught up in the power of Jesus shouting from the cross, "It is finished!" that we forget that Jesus started something. What Jesus started was a movement that began small, with intimate conversations designed to build disciples into apostles who would go out in the world and seed it with God's kingdom vision. That movement grew rapidly and spread wide as people recognized the truth in it and gave their lives to the power of it. That movement is still happening today, and we are called to play our part…


Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

By Richard Bauckham,

Book cover of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony

Bauckham is a world-leading Biblical scholar who shows in this ground-breaking book how direct eye-witness testimony underlies what we read about Jesus in the gospels, which should therefore be treated with the utmost seriousness. Particularly significant for Bauckham is the witness of the early second-century writer Papias, who had known and interacted with persons very close to the gospel events in his youth and explains how and by whom the gospels were put together. Eyewitness testimony is fundamental to forming our beliefs and can make the seemingly incredible totally credible. Bauckham draws a startling comparison with the Holocaust. We are convinced it happened only because we have eyewitness reports. Likewise with the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

By Richard Bauckham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jesus and the Eyewitnesses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking work in New Testament studies expanded and updated

Winner of the 2007 Christianity Today Book Award in Biblical Studies, this momentous volume argues that the four Gospels are closely based on the eyewitness testimony of those who personally knew Jesus. Noted New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham challenges the prevailing assumption that the Jesus accounts circulated as "anonymous community traditions," asserting instead that they were transmitted in the names of the original eyewitnesses.

In this expanded second edition Bauckham is adding a new preface, three substantial new chapters that respond to critics and clarify key points of his argument,…


Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

By Elaine Pagels,

Book cover of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent: Sex and Politics in Early Christianity

This is another classic book that examines specifically how early Christians read the story of Adam and Eve. If you thought that the message of this story was obvious, think again. Pagels expertly guides us through the intersection of biblical interpretation, sexuality, and power, and shows how there were many different and competing Christian interpretations of this story, each of which had serious ramifications for Christian practice and life. It was not a straight path to Augustine’s theory of original sin.

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

By Elaine Pagels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adam, Eve, and the Serpent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author deepens and refreshes our view of early Christianity while casting a disturbing light on the evolution of the attitudes passed down to us. 

"Confirms her reputation as both a scholar and a popular interpreter.... Continuously rewarding and illuminating." —The New York Times

How did the early Christians come to believe that sex was inherently sinful? When did the Fall of Adam become synonymous with the fall of humanity? What turned Christianity from a dissident sect that  championed the integrity of the individual and the idea of free will into…


The Resurrection of the Son of God

By N. T. Wright,

Book cover of The Resurrection of the Son of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God Volume 3

Tom Wright is the leading New Testament scholar of today. This powerful and persuasive magnum opus brings Wright’s skills as the finest historian of the period to bear on his subject matter. He sets Jesus’ resurrection well and truly in its historical context. The idea of a general resurrection at the end of time may have been around but not the resurrection within time of a single individual. Yet all the evidence leads inexorably to the conclusion that this is precisely what happened. This was not a belief that emerged over time and then found its way into the gospels but the very foundation of Christian preaching and writing from the beginning and the basis of the existence and spread of the church from its earliest days.

The Resurrection of the Son of God

By N. T. Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Resurrection of the Son of God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book, third in Wright's series Christian Origins and the Question of God, sketches a map of ancient beliefs about life after death, in both the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds. It then highlights the fact that the early Christians' belief about the afterlife belonged firmly on the Jewish spectrum, while introducing several new mutations and sharper definitions. This, together with other features of early Christianity, forces the historian to read the Easter narratives in the gospels, not simply as late rationalizations of early Christian spirituality, but as accounts of two actual events: the empty tomb of Jesus and his "appearances."


Ravished by the Spirit

By George A. Rawlyk,

Book cover of Ravished by the Spirit: Religious Revivals, Baptists, and Henry Alline

In his years as a historian at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) Rawlyk inspired a wealth of solid writing on Canada’s religious history, while also inaugurating an ambitious series in religious history for the McGill-Queen’s University press that continues to this day. Rawlyk’s own research detailed the religious history of the Maritime Provinces, especially the dramatic, long-term impact of radical Christian revivals in the period of the American Revolution that were spearheaded by Henry Alline. A special feature of this book is the shrewd assessment of how Canada’s early religious history differed from parallel developments in the United States.

Ravished by the Spirit

By George A. Rawlyk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ravished by the Spirit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rawlyk sees the Baptists of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as reaching their zenith during the latter half of the nineteenth century. He makes some controversial comments on the differences between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Baptists of both the present and past century. Ravished by the Spirit does not deal merely with a distnt historical past but raises some fundamental and disconcerting questions about the vulnerability of the Baptist denomination in contemporary Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.


The Old Enemy

By Neil Forsyth,

Book cover of The Old Enemy: Satan and the Combat Myth

The key to understanding the development of Judaism and Christianity is understanding how the problem of evil was interpreted in antiquity. There are many books on the subject, but Neil Forsyth’s is my personal favorite. His book is very thorough, covering the topic from ancient polytheistic Mediterranean mythology up through the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gnostics, and early Christianity. We can see that within religions of Semitic origin, there was fierce debate over whether evil was introduced by God himself, other heavenly beings such as angels or sons of God, by Satan, or by human beings. This led to debate over who the ruler of this world, the “material world,” really was. Was it God? Was it Satan? Was Satan actually God? These questions were of critical importance when Christianity emerged, and Forsyth’s book provides essential context.

The Old Enemy

By Neil Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Old Enemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The description for this book, The Old Enemy: Satan and the Combat Myth, will be forthcoming.


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