Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Jesus Papers: Non-Fiction or Fantasy?

Michael Biagent, the author who has most recently made international headlines over his UK lawsuit against Dan Brown, (author of the very popular DaVinci Code), announced this week, that he’s ready to release his newest book, The Jesus Papers: Uncovering the Greatest Cover-Up in History. And what a coincidence….the book’s release comes the very same day that 5 million paperback copies of DaVinci Code hit the U.S. market!

Like his earlier non-fictional work, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, (out of which Biagent claims Brown stole the basic premise for DaVinci Code), Biagent presents a sort of “what if…” concerning Jesus. Where Holy Blood speculated about Jesus’ possible relationship with Mary Magdalene and the possibility this relationship might have produced an off-spring whose roots can be traced to modern times, The Jesus Papers goes a step further and postulates that Jesus did not die on the cross, but survived to move to Egypt and eventually possibly to France. Authors and historians speculating about the events surrounding Jesus’ life, (especially his death and resurrection), are nothing new and skeptics have been providing their explanations of the resurrection for centuries, but what disturbs me about this particular book, (outside of Biagent’s obvious “best seller envy” of Brown and his attempts to one-up him), is the fact that it is presented as non-fiction.

Many Christian leaders, (especially Catholics), have been up in arms over the DaVinci Code for years now, ever since it became such an international best-seller, (43 million copies sold internationally). The fear always seemed to be…what if people read this book and think it portrays the events accurately? The more open-minded Christian leaders welcomed the dialog about Christianity and its roots that this widely read work created…but that’s another discussion for another time. But Brown always has been up front about DaVinci being nothing more than a work of fiction.

I’d would think more Christians would be concerned with works like the Jesus Papers, which portray totally unsupported speculation, as works of non-fiction. But fiction is exactly what this is, since Biagent states, that the basis of this theory is a document that allegedly existed that stated that Jesus was still alive in 45 A.D, which was allegedly seen by a man, (who died in 1948), who told another man, who many years later, told Biagent. He admits, there is no proof this document even exists, (or ever existed), and he’s still trying to track it down. Sounds more like a work of fantasy to me, or at the very least speculation at best.

Prior to my re-birth in Christ, I spent a lot of time trying to search for the truth about God and Jesus by reading a lot of books outside of the Bible, which attempted from an archeological, analytical or scientific standpoint to either prove or disprove Biblical accounts, (because that's how I had to process it). So I have no problem what so ever with skeptical authors discussing their theories, or beliefs, (or lack there of). In fact, reading some of these works by skeptics helped me develop a stronger faith, (though many warned me about reading such works)! But the danger lies with those speculations being passed off as having some basis in fact, when they are really nothing more than the creative fantasy of their author, because there is no evidence what so ever to support them, (as appears to be the case with Biagent’s book).

If you’re skeptical like I use to be, and find yourself thinking, “I know there must be something to this whole God thing, but I just don’t know if I can suspend my disbelief in the miraculous things Jesus is said to have done”, then I have a work of non-fiction that may help you answer those kinds of questions, (especially if you really like to look at problems in an analytical manner). Check out the book, “A Case for Christ,” by Lee Strobel. Strobel, a former newspaper investigative reporter and skeptic, who when setting out to disprove the story of Jesus (and Christianity in general), found that the facts and science supported the Gospel narrative, rather than disputed it. Because of his analytical background, Strobel attacks the questions surrounding Jesus with the methodology of a police investigator. He looks at and tests such things as: The eyewitness, the scientific, the documentary and the corroborating evidence on the major points. He spends considerable time on the death and resurrection, and very succinctly and logically answers arguments made by skeptics over the centuries, (including Biagent's), about what they believe happened after the cross.

This book, along with Strobel’s, Case for Faith…are two of the most influence books I ran across that helped me come to grips with understanding Faith and helped me open my heart, mind and soul to accepting Jesus as my savior and son of God.


Anonymous said...

For a real and modern scientific analysis of Jesus' teachings see The Technology of Love by Charles E. Hansen (on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at

R. Luedke said...

thanks...I'm always on the look-out for new and insightful reads on this subject!