Saturday, 17 September 2011

Christ? No! Jesus? Yes!: A radical reappraisal of a very important life (2011) by Tom O'Golo

In this book the author puts forward a number of unorthodox theories about Jesus and Paul. The author proposes that:
  • Jesus was an anarchist who flouted religious and political conventions. "Jesus was living and promoting...anarchism: spiritual and political anarchism." (page 123) 
  • Jesus was a radical, refining down the ten commandments to principally two: loving one another and loving God. The author states that there is no need to be dependent on dubious supernatural Gospel stories such as the virgin birth or his miracles. Jesus' radical message should be enough to follow him.
  • The first followers of Jesus (or "Jesuans") were communal-living anarchists. "There is little doubt that the earliest followers of Jesus, and all those who continued the monastic tradition into modern times, have adopted the anarchist principle of leading a simple, industrious, mutually self-supporting life." (pages 131-132) 
  • Jesus' brother, James, was vegetarian.
  • Paul corrupted "Jesuanism" by making Jesus into a God, reducing salvation to a matter of belief in Jesus almost regardless of the Torah's demands and establishing a Church hierarchy to create and control the beliefs of its membership. "All that is good about Christianity stems from Jesus, and all that is bad about it stems from Paul." (page 199)
  • Jesus may have travelled to Britain during his lost years to study with the Druids.
This book is a revised and retitled version of Jesus, Antichrist, Anarchist, Economist and a Theist (1998). Tom O'Golo may be a pen name for Gordon Strachan but this is unconfirmed. Strachan was a radical Church of Scotland minister who died in July 2010, aged 76.

Best Christian anarchist books:
By the way, for those who are interested I have put together a list of my favourite Christian anarchist books. For those in the US see here.