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The First Messiah: Investigating the Savior Before Jesus
In The First Messiah renowned Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Michael O. Wise brings to light the life of Judah, a forgotten prophet who predated Jesus as a messianic figure by a century and has had a profound impact on the course of Christianity and Western civilization. Although Judah, known in the Dead Sea Scrolls as the Teacher of Righteousness, preached a message distinctly ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 17th 1999 by HarperOne
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Really, really good book. This compares historical parallels between Judah (the 'first messiah') and Jesus and introduces lots of information most of us haven't seen before. I read this about 10 years ago, and will again.
Most Christians don't know what to think about the Dead Sea Scrolls except that they predate Jesus, and simple interpretations of history and textual authority claim that whatever existed first must have the greatest authority. Michael O. Wise, a leading Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, now offers a smart, accessible argument about the relationship between Jesus and the Scrolls. The First Messiah: Investigating the Savior Before Jesus argues that Judah, a messianic figure described in the Scrolls, anti ...more
One always has to wonder with speculative books like this how much is true and how much is author speculation. Even this man's name did not survive, only some of his writings in the Dead Sea Scrolls, where he is known as the Teacher of Righteousness. But his followers did apparently interpret his writing in the way the author did, which is only stated in the notes. So the author is not completely drawing a bow at a venture.
Overall an interesting read, but Wise's interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls is extremely speculative, due to our inability to precisely date the different surviving scrolls, let alone to know how all of the fragmented texts should be reconstructed. On occasion he takes a given point for granted, without really explaining it, or how it might be as important as he implies (e.g. he says the 'first messiah' was named Judah, but doesn't actually offer any evidence for this, or why it matters).
Feb 20, 2011 Theresa rated it really liked it · review of another edition
A very interesting look at a prophet named Judah who lived at least 50 years before Jesus and whose life parallels Jesus in many ways. Except one -- his followers weren't able to establish a new world religion.