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My goal in researching and writing this book (a more than 20 year project), was to do my best to understand the incredible person known to us as Jesus of Nazareth. The sources were virtually infinite, beginning with the gospels, but including centuries of relevant and often contradictory literature. I asked myself, and these sources many questions: Did Jesus believe he was the son of God? Of course, every Jewish male believed he was the son of God. Did Jesus consider himself to be divine? A very different question and one The Murdered Messiah seeks to answer. Did Jesus think he was the Messiah? Perhaps. Must the Messiah be a king? A warrior? A priest? A prophet? All of the above? Who did Jesus believe himself to be and how did he conceive his earthly mission? Why would a man whose entry into Jerusalem at Passover was a triumph, be suddenly and mysteriously murdered by the Romans?
The Gospels tell us nothing from the time Jesus spoke to the rabbis in the Temple when he was 12 until he began his ministry 18 years later. Some speculate that he traveled to Egypt, to Mesopotamia, even to India. Nonsense; Joshua never left Israel except to travel briefly to Tyre and Sidon and lands east of the Jordan. There is nothing in Christian scripture about his personal life. A young Jewish male of that era would almost certainly have been married. Was Joshua married? If so, what happened to his wife—to his children, if he had any?
If he were the Messiah, how could he be viciously murdered? Theologians have devised an explanation for the inexplicable: He died for our sins. Why is God so cruel that he demands this act of redemption? The Jewish people were the only true monotheists on the planet. Hundreds of thousands of Jews had congregated in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, the feast of liberation. But if they were not miserable sinners, what was the reason for Joshua’s terrible sacrifice?
Had he traveled throughout Israel, preaching the law and the love of God only to fall prey to the machinations of Pontius Pilate, one of the cruelest men in a very cruel empire?
The Murdered Messiah seeks to unravel these riddles and reveal the true nature of this remarkable man, with reverence for his extraordinary sacrifice and his passionate love for God.
Len Lamensdorf is the award-winning author of 9 novels, 3 full-length plays and one successful feature film. He is an honors graduate of the University Chicago College and Law School (editor, Law Review), and completed his post-graduate work at Harvard Law. Click here to see Len's full bio and bibliography.
"... this novel brings the central dimension of the life of Jesus to the fore in lucid prose ... that make Sunday School lessons look quaint and distorted..."
"[Lamensdorf's] serious historical research ... far outshines the recent similar works of non-historians Anne Rice and Bill O’Reilly about Jesus."
"Unmasking the way Christianity’s traditional tellings of Jesus’s story and modern conventional piety have made the deep drama of Jesus enmeshed in the middle of roaring cruelty and loss into sentimental pabulum, this gripping new telling allows a whole set of meanings to emerge for the 21st century reader."
Excerpted from the Foreword by Minister Hal Taussig, noted author and Professor of Early Christianity
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