Jesus and Nicodemus (H. O. Tanner)
Several people have asked me who my target audience is for Disciples, or for my previous book The Lost Religion of Jesus. When I write about Christianity and vegetarianism, who is my audience? Christians? Vegetarians? Someone else? A friend of mine writes the following question:
In order to explain that the founders [of Christianity] were vegetarian you also have to do a critical analysis which uncovers that Jesus and his followers never claimed that Jesus was god co-equal with the father. Fundamentalists do not want to listen to anything which would demote Jesus . . . non-fundamentalists and non-Christians are not particularly interested in reading anything about Jesus as vegetarian because they are just not that interested in reading about Jesus.
So what audience is left? Continue reading
Frank and Mary Hoffman, who administer the All-Creatures.org website, one of the top Christian vegetarian websites in English, recently reviewed Disciples. Here’s what they said:
Disciples by Keith Akers is a very interesting and well researched book. The main focus of Disciples is to take an in-depth look at “Jewish Christianity” as it has commonly been called, which Akers contends may go back 1000 years or more before Jesus, which to us refers to a messianic movement. Continue reading
Bart Ehrman's book "Forged" deals mostly with ancient forgeries, but also with some modern forgeries
The New Testament includes many books whose actual authors are other than they are claimed to be. That is, they are forgeries — but made it into the New Testament anyway. Paul’s two “letters to Timothy,” for example, were not actually written by Paul. Forgeries are in a different category altogether than channeled works such as Rev. Ouseley’s The Gospel of the Holy Twelve or Levi’s The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the case of channeled works, the author is being straightforward: I had a dream or vision, in which God (or Anna Kingsford, or the Akashic Records) revealed these things. But in the case of forgeries, a manuscript is being advertised as being written by someone who in fact did not write it. Forgeries in the realm of religion are sometimes called “pious frauds.”
Two distinguished examples of modern “pious frauds” are the gospels by Nicholas Notovitch and Edmond Bordeaux Szekely. Both are sometimes innocently quoted by vegetarians to prove that Jesus went to India or that Jesus was a vegetarian. But neither of them constitutes real evidence about Jesus, or about anything else before the nineteenth century. Continue reading
Anna Kingsford (1846-1888)
How can we imagine Jesus slaughtering animals or even condoning it? Yet both Christian tradition and the doors of the churches are often closed to ethical vegetarians concerned about animals. One approach to this problem is to look for alternative gospels, and if none is found, to write such a gospel. This approach has sometimes produced some interesting results, one of which is The Gospel of the Holy Twelve.
Looking for modern “alternative gospels” would not be my approach to this problem. What happened to the ethical vegetarianism of the historical Christian community which originated in the first century? What happened to the Jesus who said “I have come to destroy the animal sacrifices,” and was killed after disrupting the animal sacrifice business in the temple? We shouldn’t give up hope so quickly! But I can well understand the frustration of many who have turned away from the Christian tradition in response to the corruption of the scriptures and the general ignorance of most scholars of the subject. Continue reading
The Global Guide To Animal Protection. Edited by Andrew Linzey. University of Illinois Press, 2013.
Andrew Linzey, tireless campaigner for animals, advocate of Christian vegetarianism, and director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, has edited a marvelous book about animals worldwide. The Global Guide to Animal Protection is an encyclopedia of animal issues that is truly global — and we’re not just talking about on land, but in the sea as well. If you live with a dog, or have been to a PETA demonstration, or try your hand at preparing vegan meals, or have written letters opposing “Sea World,” or have joined a vegetarian group, then this book will likely tell you quite a bit in connection with any or all of the areas of concern to which you have just barely been exposed. Continue reading
Jesus and Nicodemus (H. O. Tanner)
Recently, in response to a friend’s blurb promoting Disciples on Facebook, someone asked whether the author of the book (namely, me) was promoting vegetarian “propaganda.”
I have heard this same basic objection before, expressed in other ways. Readers feel that describing Jesus or early Christianity as vegetarian is strange. A reviewer of my previous book The Lost Religion of Jesus politely said, “There is, for my taste, an overemphasis on vegetarianism as one of the differences between the Jewish Christian groups and the Gentile Christian church.” Another reviewer, less politely, described The Lost Religion of Jesus as “an apologetic book for vegetarianism with a religious ‘seal of approval’ applied”; still another said that it was “a poorly supported argument for becoming a vegetarian.” Continue reading
Jesus and Nicodemus (H. O. Tanner)
People are seriously debating whether there ever was a historical Jesus. Some assert that Jesus himself never existed, that “Jesus is a legend, like King Arthur or Robin Hood or Paul Bunyan.” The best representative of this position is likely Dr. Robert M. Price (The Christ-Myth Theory and its Problems). Bart Ehrman wrote a book on the other side (Did Jesus Exist?). Bloggers have now weighed in both pro and con, for example Dr. R. Joseph Hoffman and the site Vridar.org. On top of that, many people among the “New Atheists” are getting involved, with even Richard Dawkins cautiously weighing in on the subject: “The evidence [Jesus] existed is surprisingly shaky.” Continue reading
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
The following is excerpted from a review of Disciples by Steve Bastasch at Rennyo01′s blog.
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A GREAT NEW BOOK
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
Dr. Robert Goodland died on December 28, 2013. He is best known as the lead author (with co-author Jeff Anhang) of “Livestock and Climate Change” (WorldWatch, November / December 2009), which made the case that livestock agriculture is responsible for over half of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. He worked at the World Bank for over two decades and was sometimes referred to as “the conscience of the World Bank.” Continue reading