**spoiler alert** This book was recommended by the Economist magazine and stood out amongst other "Jesus" books because it was written by an Arab who**spoiler alert** This book was recommended by the Economist magazine and stood out amongst other "Jesus" books because it was written by an Arab who had been a Muslim and now a convert to Christianity. After reading the first chapter, I thought the author did not really believe in Jesus because he was describing how the bible stated God commanded the first settlement of Jewish to come to the holy land and slaughter all the inhabitants and living things in the land because God is jealous. The second chapter described Jewish life under Roman rule and how Romans actually treated Jewish people much better than other conquered groups. Romans allowed Jews to practice their own religion as long as they paid the taxes and conducted two sacrifices a day to Caesar. It went on to describe how Herod, the notorious King of the Jews, was actually a very capable king. Herod rose to power after he defeated the bandits that defied the Roman rule and the Romans made him king of all jews despite the fact that Herod was half Arab and wasnt born a Jewish. Herod was presented in so many books and movies as an evil king that would kill Jesus and as someone who acted as a slave king to the Romans. And it was probably correct to say that most Jewish hated Herod. However the fact that Herod was so hated could still hold the country together without any interference from Rome and without any resistance from the Jewish population was remarkable especially when under Herod's rule, it was not only the Jews that lived there but also the Arabs and Syrians. Even today Israel would fight almost every year for land control. This book showed the other side of Herod, the side that talked about his ability as king and not just as an evil minion as the Bible described.
The book also addressed many information that never seemed to add up in the Bible. I knew that Newsweek did an extensive article last month on how Bible never condemned homosexuality because when Bible was first written, the concept of homosexuality hasn't even been discovered. Here, the author mentioned that to be the messiah, one has to be born in Bethelem and Jesus was born in Galilee. The Bible pointed out that Jesus was from Bethelem because the Roman household registration system pointed to Jesus from Bethelem but it was likely to be because Jesus traveled to Bethelem with his family there simply for the registration purpose.
The author also made a comparison between John the Baptist and Jesus. He suggested that unlike what the Bible described that John was a follower of Jesus, Jesus was probably the follower of John and the Bible made it a point in 3 different chapters to reduce John's power from the mentor to follower. John started his preaching career earlier than Jesus and he was already immensely popular by the time Jesus left Gailee and it was likely that Jesus started his preaching career after he studied with John.
The more i read, the more i think the author seriously believe Jesus to be a human and not a god, he described how the Bible stated when Jesus was crucified at the cross, it was Pontius Pilate who asked that Jesus be saved and it was the Jews (especially the high priest) that insisted to kill Jesus, as if the Roman army back at that time had absolutely no control over the Jewish population in Roman occupied Jersualem. The author explained that the reason for the Bible to blame the Jewish and not the Romans in the Bible was because when Luke or Matthew wrote their respective chapters, they were focusing on preaching the gospel to the Roman population and their chapters were written to please their target audience: the Romans and thus they had to make it look as if the Jews were to blame and not the Romans. ...more
I was always curious about Indian culture. I knew about the elephant gods, about their holy river, about the Taj Mahal, but that was about it. I knewI was always curious about Indian culture. I knew about the elephant gods, about their holy river, about the Taj Mahal, but that was about it. I knew India is growing rapidly and its growth rate will surpass that of China in 2016 or even later this year. But I did not know about the slums, especially the one called Annawadi as described in the book. An entire family of slumdwellers live in a single tiny room they call a house and kids, no matter how young or how fragile, had to work to support the family. The stories of Asha, Manju, Abdul, Sunil really had touched me deeply. It made me want to visit India myself, to see how the ordinary people of India live their lives. Abdul was a young man who didn't know how old he was and he had been sorting and selling garbage for as long as he can remember. His family offended a neighboring woman called Fatima and Fatima set herself on fire as revenge. Abdul and his entire family had been charged with attempted murder or some equivalent crime and this book largely described how they were trying to free themselves (the fact that when Fatima was sent to the hospital the doctor did not even care that she was a burn patient and used second or third hand needle and bandage for her which caused her death from infection and that Abdul had to pay thousands of rupee to all the government officials such as court reporter, police officer, investigator, witnesses in order to ensure a fair trial). I heard about how corrupt India was when it comes to justice system. The testimony and evidence can be changed and tempered with depend on how much a defendant can pay. Police will target anyone even garbage gatherer for money. But later on it seems that the police were also the victims in a corrupt system because their pay was too low to support their own families so they had to take bribes. In the end, India is still growing as a global power with billionaires making more billions and the poor making less without even a home to go back to...more
I have to say when this case happened back in 2009, I, like many other people, believed Amanda to be guilty because I saw her smile in court with herI have to say when this case happened back in 2009, I, like many other people, believed Amanda to be guilty because I saw her smile in court with her boyfriend and the I heard the way many people were talking about the case. I assumed she was guilty because of the way she acted and how inconsiderate she looked in her own murder trial. But now, almost 6 years later and after reading new information emerged out of the case and having moved to Italy myself in 2011 and lived in Rome for a while, I have to say now I believe this girl is innocent, she might smile in her own murder trial and she might act inappropriately but that does not make her a murderer. Having moved to Rome for my first year in law school, I experienced first hand how shitty the Italian legal system was and having been asked out by Italian police and being harassed and treated inappropriately by almost every Italian guy I came in contact with, I believed Amanda's story that the prosecutor treated her unfairly and misappropriated the evidence just to show that she was the murderer. Italian legal system is very different from the American legal system and in my opinion doesn't even come close to treat people fairly and to afford a fair trial to accused. I also believed Amanda when she said she confessed and accused Patrick because she was under pressure and had been treated badly by the police. Now, after reading this book and watching her appear on talkshows, I do believe her innocence and hope that now she can finally enjoy her life as a normal girl should have. ...more
this book is fascinating. of course being chinese myself, I grew up with my grandparents telling me stories about the war in Nanking and my grandpa bethis book is fascinating. of course being chinese myself, I grew up with my grandparents telling me stories about the war in Nanking and my grandpa being from Nanking and escaped the massacre, the astrocities and brutalities the japanese had committed in Nanking had always meant something more to my family. especially since my great grandma was killed by the japanese there. This book described briefly the history of japan and how it was the americans that opened the door and ended the japanese isolation. the japanese had admired and feared western military power and thus committed itself to brutal training of its own children. Theres always the saying in Asia that be hard on your enemy and be harder on yourself and I guess the japanese had achieved that. Iris Chang also suggested that the defeat of nanking was also due to the cowardice of the chinese soldiers because the chinese outnumbered the japanese by 10 to 1 and yet they offered their surrender without any fight. This was no news to me as the same characteristic is still being displayed by the chinese in china as in last month, a chinese with a fruit knife killed and injured 15 people on a bus and 4 more after the killer got off the bus and no one resisted him. I guess chinese military and government at that time was also at fault for losing the war and perhaps what happened in nanking can be lesson for both the chinese and the japanese.
it came as a surprise to me when Iris mentioned in the book that it was the western foreigners that showed the most courage and helped saving more people and some of them even risked their own lives. the saddest part was probably the last chapter of the book where it mentioned the whereabouts of all the foreigners after they saved the lives of thousands of chinese. not only did they never received anything in return, most of them ended up paying a price of their own lives for what they had done in china. None of them had received the attention like Schindler did after ww2. in fact, none of the books and articles and films even mentioned them. also, most japanese war criminals had gone on without any punishments. even more outrageous was the fact that many prominent japanese today still denied the existance of the rape in the first place, as evidenced by the attitude of many of them after a recent lawsuit by the women that were raped during the war....more
a lot of interesting facts about saints, churches, and crusades, but I thought this book was supposed to be about Templars. It only contained some infa lot of interesting facts about saints, churches, and crusades, but I thought this book was supposed to be about Templars. It only contained some information about templars, most of book was talking about Crusades. ...more
Been from China myself, this books is a masterpiece. It told me stories that was never been told to me when I was a student in China back in the 80s aBeen from China myself, this books is a masterpiece. It told me stories that was never been told to me when I was a student in China back in the 80s and 90s. All the characters described in the book such as Deng, Zhu, and Peng were described to us as heroes in Chinese schools. I truly believed it when Frank Dikotter said that in recent interviews, people who survived the great famine still blamed the Soviet Union for the whole disaster, it was what had been told to me in Chinese school. Even now, China places country's reputation and face above human life such as the train crash that happened recently. I guess you would not really understand China unless you see it from a different perspective which is what Frank Dikotter offered me. ...more
Who is the first conqueror of Britain: it's king Claudius of roman empire he conquered the island on a war elephant and Rome names it the province ofWho is the first conqueror of Britain: it's king Claudius of roman empire he conquered the island on a war elephant and Rome names it the province of Britania.Rome left Scotland and Treland alone and built the city of Bath
Who was the first Christian missionary: st. Paul who had preached to europe and Asia minor but later beheaded by emperor Nero
The first "barrack emperor": the emperors who had been elected in Rome by the soldiers to further their own goals. they were born during time of chaos in Roman history, the first of which was Maximinus, who was born a shepherd and later murdered the emperor and declared himself emperor. he never set foot in Rome and he was later killed by his officers. many more of this types of emperors followed in Rome.
The first christian monk is St. Anthony of Egypt, who were orphaned at 20 and gave away all his wealth to the poor and ended up living in an isolated place in the desert until age 105.
a small lord in northern India arranged a smart marriage and expanded its own territory and formed the first centrally controlled India emperor and this emperor is Chandragupta I of Gupta dynasty. During his son Chandragupta II's reign, he made India into a golden age and during which time the famous book Journey to the West actually happened here.
Saint Nicolas was a bishop of a small church in Turkey. He was born in Turkey and his story became legend when he gave 3 pounches of gold away to save 3 girls from becoming prostitutes. He later been buried in Turkey and a group of merchants brought him back to Bari, Italy. His idea of gift giving and Roman's celebration of Saturnalia was what really set things off. The Dutch brought this tradition with them to NYC and people started calling him Santa Clause.
Who is considered the first king of France: Clovis I, who united all the Franks What was the first complete codification of Roman law: Emperor Justinian's Corpus Iuris Civilis, who combined all the written Roman laws and books such as digest. It became the ancestor of legal system in Europe...more