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Jennifer L. Horn

Vegetarian Society of Richmond newsletter

The Lost Religion of Jesus by author Keith Akers

Lantern Books, A Division of Booklight, Inc.; New York; 2000.

A "MUST-READ"!! Vegetarians, animal-lovers, theologians and all thoughtful people will find this bookís well-documented and well-reasoned contention exciting, and very believable: that Jesusí was a vegetarian for ethical reasons, and that, in accordance with his lifestyle and teaching of pacifism, simple living, and vegetarianism, Jesus vehemently opposed the animal sacrifices which were mandatory and routine in the Temple in Jerusalem. It was this opposition to animal sacrifice, culminating in his angry outburst in the Temple during Passover week, that precipitated in his crucifixion one week later.

Traditional Sunday School teaching leaves one with the impression that Jesusí angry outburst and expulsion of animals and money changers from the Temple was simply because Jesus wanted to rid the Temple of the hypocrisy of dishonest money-changing existing in a holy place. But there was more to the incident than that! Many people would have been unhappy with dishonest moneychangers in a temple area. That was not sufficient reason to so enrage Temple authorities that they sought Jesusí death, and also, later, the death of Jesusí followers .

What so threatened the priests was that the animal sacrifice business was a means of supporting the priests economically. They derived much of their support from the meat on the altar: people were required to tithe 10% of their animal herds for animal sacrifice "for religious reasons" and many sacrifices resulted in some or all of the meat going to the priests. Jesus taught that the animal sacrifice business was a fraud.........God never required animal sacrifice! Jesusí words were "I came to abolish sacrifices, and unless you cease sacrificing, my anger will not cease from you!" It was this act, and itís interpretation as a threat to public order, that led immediately to Jesusí crucifixion.

Evidence for these assertions is related in Akersí book, as are explanations of the historical context of Jesusí life and culture, and of how this crucial message of Jesusí was eventually lost to the Church. A "MUST-READ" for everyone !!

- reviewer: Jennifer L. Horn (3/16/01)

(Vegetarian Society of Richmond)



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