Review of “Disciples” by Drew Hensley

The following is a review of Disciples by Drew Hensley, posted on Amazon’s web site.

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The author let me see an early manuscript of this book. This work goes well beyond The Lost Religion of Jesus in making the case that Jesus was an ethical vegetarian who sought to bring down the sacrificial system of which the Temple was the epicenter. This new book is filled with graphs and charts and laid out in a way that is remarkably easy to follow and enables the reader to hold the lines of evidence together mentally. Continue reading “Review of “Disciples” by Drew Hensley”

Review of “Disciples” by Steve Bastasch

The following is excerpted from a review of Disciples by Steve Bastasch at Rennyo01’s blog.

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Keith Akers takes us back to the origins of Christianity in a new way. Disciples delineates in an unprecedented manner the history of the Ebionites – “the Poor” – Jesus’ first Jewish disciples.

The Ebionites represent a religious movement that had its origins in ancient Judaism, a movement that was opposed to animal sacrifice and the temple, and which supported vegetarianism, simple living, compassion, and the cultivation of spiritual wisdom (“knowledge”). This is not some oddball New Age notion. It’s expressed in the Hebrew Bible and by some of the Prophets. Continue reading “Review of “Disciples” by Steve Bastasch”

“Disciples” is published

My new book, Disciples: How Jewish Christianity Shaped Jesus and Shattered the Church (Apocryphile Press, 2013) has now been published. You can order it on Amazon here. (I will not be selling it through my website.)

A book about the disciples of Jesus would typically start with Jesus himself: first there was Jesus, then he had disciples. Disciples suggests a fundamentally different story: first there was a movement, then Jesus emerged as its leader. This movement was markedly different from both rabbinic Judaism and gentile Christianity. It became known to history as “Jewish Christianity”— Jews who followed both Jesus (as they understood him) and the Jewish law (as they understood it).

These first disciples affirmed simple living, nonviolence, and vegetarianism, and rejected wealth, war, and animal sacrifices. Some two decades after Jesus was crucified, they split with their most famous missionary, Paul, over the issues of vegetarianism and eating meat from animal sacrifices. These events become clear through examination of the letters of Paul and the Jewish Christian literature: the Recognitions, the Homilies, and testimony about Jewish Christianity in the early church fathers. The history of Jewish Christianity takes our understanding of Christian origins into a completely new realm. Continue reading ““Disciples” is published”