Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “James the Brother of Jesus” as Want to Read:
James the Brother of Jesus
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

James the Brother of Jesus

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  160 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Was James-rather than Peter-the true spiritual heir to Jesus?James was a vegetarian, wore only linen clothing, bathed daily at dawn in cold water, and was a life-long Nazirite. In this profound and provocative work of scholarly detection, eminent biblical scholar Robert Eisenman introduces a startling theory about the identity of James-the brother of Jesus, who was almost ...more
ebook, 1136 pages
Published March 1st 1998 by Penguin Putnam (first published December 1st 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about James the Brother of Jesus, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about James the Brother of Jesus

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 376)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Alexander Kennedy
Dec 26, 2014 Alexander Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
Every once in a while a book comes along that offers a complete paradigm shift and really makes you stop and think. This is such a book. As a piece of literature it is probably 4 stars because it does get tediously repetitive and dwells on a subject for a very long time, but this is somewhat necessary to connect all of the dots. The ideas presented more than make up for this, though. The book tires to discover the historical Jesus by discovering the historical James, Jesus' brother and the leade ...more
Skylar Burris
I read about 50% of this massive tome. At first, I was very interested in it: little is known or written about James, the brother of Jesus, who seems from hints in the Bible to have played a very prominent role in the early church. But there was so much speculation crafted out of such a small amount of historical evidence, and it was written in such a dry academic tone, that I eventually gave up. The long and short of it seemed to be that Paul should not have been, in essence, the founder of Chr ...more
Keith Akers
Eisenman is a really smart guy with a lot of information at his disposal. However, he can't write worth beans. This is really hard to get through. This book is interesting for early-Christianity geeks like me, but if you're looking for a light summer read, this isn't the place to start. Try Jeffrey Butz's book on "the Brother of Jesus" which IMHO is better.
Trevor Luke
A tortuous ride through mounds of evidence and strained connections that ends in one of the most mean-spirited theses of Christianity's origins that I have ever encountered.
Erik Graff
Feb 06, 2014 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Early Church historians
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley
Shelves: religion
This rather lengthy first volume of a two-volume study of the early church was a very difficult read, not because the material was particularly difficult--one needn't know any Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Greek or even Latin--but because of its organization and the author's writing style. The arguments being made are important, which makes the turgidity of the prose expecially unfortunate.

Basically, this is a book about what occurred amongst the earliest followers of Jesus upon his death. Eisenman a
Jan 29, 2015 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a monumental work of scholarship. That said, I had a hard time reading it and I must admit that I have only read a little over a hundred pages. I am writing this review now because I have to return it to the library and would like to remember to return to it in the future and encourage others to look into it.

Mr. Eisenman recommends reading the book with a collection of reference books but it is already like reading a reference intensive study. He does not use footnotes. There is a
Miles Zarathustra
Mar 29, 2011 Miles Zarathustra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of how Paul, a Roman, horned his way in to the Christian church, which was a Jewish messianic sect. Detailed revelations of how the Bible was overwritten to conceal that fact that it was the Romans who killed Jesus, not the Jews. Explores the possibility that it was indeed Paul himself who crucified Jesus' brother.

Very thorough, and consequently somewhat tedious. I confess, I did not make it all the way through this book, but what I did read was quite interesting.

if you are interested in hearing from the horses mouth what the dead sea scrolls have to say about early christianity - you will find here. James the brother of Jesus is a hero, and the essene community was the true early christians who followed Christ as well as followed the OT Laws...check out the bio on the author! he has the credentials to "go there" with this research
Diana Sandberg
Jul 07, 2013 Diana Sandberg rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The title and jacket blurb piqued my interest, but the book is impossible to read. Apparently Jesus had brothers, one of whom led Jesus' followers after his death and was, naturally, very influential in the early years of Christianity. While Paul was out there preaching to the Gentiles, James was in Jerusalem. Within 300-400 years, though, James became a difficulty for those who'd decided that just being the son of God wasn't special enough for Jesus, Mary had to be a "perpetual virgin" as well ...more
Maurizio Codogno
Jan 12, 2012 Maurizio Codogno rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religione, finished
L'autore ha scritto questo tomo per esporre la sua tesi: che il cristianesimo delle origini non era altro che il gruppo degli Esseni di cui si sono trovati i rotoli a Qumran sul Mar Morto, che Paolo di Tarso, oltre che essere un collaborazionista romano, era parente di Erode e nemmeno ebreo, e che Giacomo, fratello di Gesù in quanto figlio di Giuseppe e Maria, era il vero capo della chiesa cristiana primitiva, e una figura molto più importante di Gesù stesso. Si potrebbe immaginare che tutto que ...more
Ur Salem
Oct 10, 2014 Ur Salem marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: three-jesuses
As Daniel T. Unterbrink states: "Robert Eisenman clearly demonstrated that James was a devout Jew and popular among the Jewish people. If that were so, he reasoned, Jesus should be interpreted in light of his brother, James, not through the prism created by Paul and the later Church. His writings, full of insights, led me towards my Judas the Galilean thesis."
Kristi Duarte
Jun 02, 2015 Kristi Duarte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If it wasn't so hard to read, I would give it six stars. This book is chock full of information and is a must-read for anyone doing research into Jesus disciples.
Rick Massey
Sep 11, 2012 Rick Massey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book of fluff. But serious scholars and historians will enjoy the fresh, sometimes relatively new approach to understanding what actually happened during the century Jesus lived. to those of us that are interested in learning the truth (and let the chips fall where they may), Dr. Eisenman is a modern hero. He was instrumental breaking the monopoly on the majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were kept hidden from the rest of us for more than thirty years. You may not agree with all ...more
Jan 11, 2010 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rated this book a 3 only because it was such a difficult, dry read.
His grasp of the linguistics involved are far beyond anything I could possibly challenge. This book would best be enjoyed by those looking for a serious scholarly approach to textual criticism regarding the bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other extant writings from the period.
Bill Woodward
Eisenman has well researched this material, but his writing style is very challenging. Still, it is worth plodding through the extensive material. Eisenman's views on the Apostle Paul are especially interesting.
Jim Savage
Dec 26, 2014 Jim Savage rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lost me with the secret coding. James was a great leader of the early Jewish-Christian church whose martyrdom changed the course of history by opening the door to Paul's anti-Jewish theology.
Feb 28, 2008 Fred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xianity, xposes, reviewed

the righteous skinny on how "saint" paul hijacked jesus' teachings, by the scholar whose lawsuit forced the church into opening the scrolls to non-catholic historians
Mar 07, 2011 Damian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard going and thorough at times. but very worth the labours. thought provoking. carbon dating did his theory no favours. was there not supposed to be a part 2??
The concept is interesting but without doubt this is one of the worst written books I have ever read - repetitive, hectoring, presumptuous and misguided.
Jul 09, 2012 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very extensive and well-researched book about the role of James in the development of early Christianity.
Mike Luoma
Could not get through this one - became a bit dense and repetitive.
Keith Mcintosh
Interesting, Scholarly but a very dull, repetitive read.
Kyle Callahan
Dry, dry, dry, and could have been about 800 pages shorter.
Feb 11, 2008 Dana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author's writing style is very difficult.
Kurosh Hormozian
Tough read but really informative.
intra-library loan
Oct 25, 2007 Jamey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James good, Paul bad.
Gary Gudmundson
Gary Gudmundson marked it as to-read
Feb 01, 2016
Tom Wahl
Tom Wahl is currently reading it
Feb 01, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Dark Side of Christian History
  • The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament
  • Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels
  • The Secrets of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple & His Lost Gospel
  • Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader from the Biblical Archaeology Review
  • The Other Bible
  • The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins
  • The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus
  • The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible
  • The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?
  • Pontius Pilate
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception
  • The Jesus Discovery: The New Archaeological Find that Reveals the Birth of Christianity
  • The Power of Parable: How Fiction by Jesus Became Fiction about Jesus
  • Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation
  • Omens of the Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams & Resurrection
  • Crusade Against the Grail: The Struggle between the Cathars, the Templars, and the Church of Rome
  • The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church's Conservative Icon

Share This Book

“There arose a riot among the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees, saying that the whole people was in danger of looking for Jesus as the Christ. So they assembled, and said to James, ‘We beseech you to restrain the people, who are going astray after Jesus as though he were the Christ.” 1 likes
“For we and all the people testify that you are Righteous and do not respect persons. Therefore, persuade the people not to be led astray after Jesus, for all the people and ourselves have confidence in you. Therefore stand upon a wing of the Temple that you may be clearly visible from above and your words readily heard by all the people.16” 1 likes
More quotes…