**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
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
This book focus more on the roman civil war, the war between Italians who was mistreated by Romans and the Romans who thought themselves as entitled aThis book focus more on the roman civil war, the war between Italians who was mistreated by Romans and the Romans who thought themselves as entitled and superior, as was seen by servilia, carpio's daughter, but I honestly don't think she is as devious as the book put it. The civil war was kind if caused by the Italians who was sick and tired of the Romans enlisting young Italians in the roman army to fight roman wars, and mistreat them afterwards, many young italians died and no one was left to farm the Italian lands. Rome even set up an equity court in 10 provinces in Italy to make sure there were no fake enrollment, it was kind of like a type of immigration court. Things got better later when Drusus decided to advocate on Italians behave. The book also gave some hint as to how Rome eventually became an empire. Sulpicius and Gaius Marius worked against Sulla when there was a struggle against who should take command of King Mithdrites and Sulla, having successfully expelled the two of them. Passed the law lex cornelia to take the power away from the 35 tribes of the people, and no law would be discussed or passed without the senate's approval....more
I found this book interesting. I always know cleopatra as a seductive temptress but this book did point out cleopatra not just as a temptress but as aI found this book interesting. I always know cleopatra as a seductive temptress but this book did point out cleopatra not just as a temptress but as a very charismatic and persuasive person. It may be possible that Cesar was helping her to her throne because of Roman interest for a unified egypt. But as the book pointed out, Cesar would have a easier life by giving cleopatra to her brother but he didn't do that, instead he helped cleopatra in everyday possible. As with everything else about her such as her affair with Anthony. Her relationship with Cassius and Brutus and Octavian, I already know them, this book just described it in much more detail. This book also talks about her relationship with mark Anthony, supposedly they did not really love each other, it was true that cleopatra seduced Anthony to keep herself in power and Anthony was just attracted by her body and her money, the book went on to talk about her relationship with king Herod and her rivalry with octavia. What actually surprised me was that the author suggested that cleopatra did not die by snake bite, contrary to common belief, instead she died by swallowing poison ...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
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
so apparently people had been drinking beer since 10,000 BC and ancient governments pay out beer as a form of salary. I have heard of Egyptian pyramidso apparently people had been drinking beer since 10,000 BC and ancient governments pay out beer as a form of salary. I have heard of Egyptian pyramid builders had been paid in the form of beer but to know that women and children had been encouraged to drink beer was kind of "what?". Young children even toddler had been drinking beer as if it were water. Kids those days would probably be happy if they get to live like that
It also surprised me that coffee was first discovered in Arab areas, in modern day Yemen. Middle easterners don't really strike me as coffee drinkers so this new piece of information kind of surprised me. ...more
**spoiler alert** Scientists believed that when comets hit the Earth around 65 million years ago, the comet dust that had left over on Earth had forme**spoiler alert** Scientists believed that when comets hit the Earth around 65 million years ago, the comet dust that had left over on Earth had formed a layer blocking the sun's path, thus creating the Ice Age.
The story of the lost continent of Atlantis was based entirely on the story of one person: Plato. He described that the city of Atlantis was a paradise and it disappeared in one day.
This book also talks about the mystery of Maya civilization. The Mayans started out as tribal people with no clear ruler for them. Then, it reached its peak during the age called Classic Maya where they developed an understanding for calenders and mathmatics. Nobody really knew how the Mayans disappeared, this book assumed peasant revolt and food shortage, as natural disaster and diseases were not likely at that time.
Scientists today suggested that ancient wonders such as the Stonehenge were built with a geometry pattern and an understanding in solar and lunar calenders.
There was one story in the Bible that says Joshua led the Jews out into Palestine, where they fought against another group of people. According to the Bible, Joshua prayed to God and God had made the Sun and Moon stood still and destroyed the enemy. It was suggested by scholars that in the description of the story, God had sent down firestones, it could be interepted as comic meteroites, in turn, the fall of meterioties could affect the gravatational pull of the Earth, thus making the sun to stay longer.
Many knew about the story of the Amazons, whom the Spanish had claimed to see back during the colonization period, they even named the river in the Brazilian jungle Amazon river. However, the real location of the Amazons are around Greece and Russia and Russian archaeologists had found female warrior graves around those locations....more
**spoiler alert** money is worth only what someone else is willing to give you for it. an increase in its supply will not make a society richer, thoug**spoiler alert** money is worth only what someone else is willing to give you for it. an increase in its supply will not make a society richer, though it may enrich the government that monopolizes the production of money, other things being equal, monetary expansion will merely make prices higher.
moneylenders have to learn to overcome the fundamental conflict: if they were too generous, they made no money, if they were too hard-nosed, people eventually called on the police, the only way for them is by growing big--and growing power, this is the origin of banks: one of the most famous founder of banks in Florentine is the Medici Family, which had established their wealth as currency trader in Florentine, what kept this bank alive was the diversification of its assets so it could not be bought by just one rival. This family created the Italian banking system, and the banking system became the model for those Northern European nations.
two of the core definitions of modern monetary theory: Mo (monetary base or high-powered money), which is equal to the total liabilities of the central bank (cash plus reserves of private sector banks on deposit at the central bank) and M1 (narrow money), which is equal to cash in circulation plus demand or sight deposits.
The Evolution of Banking: a decisive difference between natural evolution and financial evolution is the role of what might be called "intelligent design"
illiquidity is when a firm cannot sell sufficient assets to meet its liabilities. It has the right amount of assets, but they are not marketable to meet its liabilities. It has the right amount of assets, but they are not marketable because there are too few potential buyers.
insolvency is when the value of the liabilities clearly exceeds the value of the assets.
in USA, the legislation was not passed to create the Federal Reserve System until 1913. The 1864 National Bank Act had significantly reduced the barriers to setting up a privately owned bank,which led to instability. The introduction of deposit insurance in 1933 did much to reduce the vulnerability of American banks. In 1976, Marine became the first state to legalize inter-state banks.
Banruptcy: since 1898, it has been every American's right to file for bankruptcy, the theory is that American law exists to encourage entrepreneurship--to facilitate the creation of new business, and that means giving people a break when their plans go wrong.
Mountain of debt: "war" is the father of bond, war is only possible if you can raise money to finance it.
It is the bond market that sets the economy as a whole. If the state has to pay a lot of interest on governmental bond, then even the commercial borrowers are likely to pay some kind of war premium.
In London during the Glorious Revolution, the government came up with the bond market, the governmental bonds were the dominant secruties traded and it was highly liquid--it was easy to sell and thus very attractive to foreign investors. In Paris, there was no such thing and the lack of stable finance proved to have significant consequences.
The Bonaparte of Finance: Nathan Meyer Rothschild, founder of the London branch of the biggest bank in the world in the most of the 19th century. It was the bond market that made the Rothschild family rich. The war of Waterloo had provided another opportunity for them. During the war of Waterloo, the French raised money through tax while the British raised money through bonds, the Rothschild bought the bonds just before the big collapse of the bond market and the family is almost ruined because of it. But the English government turned to Rothschild for money because he became an expert at gold smuggling. They had raised more than 12 million francs, what made them so successfully was that all the 5 Rothschild brothers were positioned in different parts of Europe and they made their money through currency difference and through their already-in-progress banking system. He gambled one more time, after the war is finished, Nathan started buying a lot of governmental bonds hoping that the bond prices will go up since the government was borrowing less money and he sold them all when the price of bonds went up 40% and made 600 million dollars. it was one of the most audacious trades in financial history. According to the Chinese book "currency war", the Rothschild is still controlling the monetary system through Federal Reserve System
"any owner of government bonds can collect the interest at his convenience in several different places without any effect" In addition, the Rothschild family kept the fortune within their own family through intermarriage and their common faith as Jewish. They had created their family wealth through war, now it seemed that Europe was going into peace, the family had then decided to move to America for the Civil war.
hyperinflation happened when countries lost the war, the worst inflation in history was in Hungary in 1946, when the inflation reached 4.19quintrillion percent. people say it is a gamble for investor to buy a bond, part of that gamble is that an upsurge in inflation will not consume the value of the bond's annual interest payments. That's why at the first wave of inflation, bond price tends to fall.
In 1913, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world with fast economy growth and many foreign investment.
John Law was born in Scotland, and had fled to Amsterdam after he killed his neighbor. Amsterdam at that time had created the world's first joint-stock company. This company was first created to obtain goods from China and India. This merged company was called the United Dutch Charted East Indies Company and they sold shares to everyone in the United Province, with it the Dutch established the first Stock exchange market and the first Stock exchange bank. He suggested substituting coins with paper currency, and this idea is only accepted in France partly because France was in such a bad shape at that time. He soon started creating bubbles for his company and named the city New Orleans in LA to flatter the skeptical Finance minister. Later, he started selling shares of LA and of his company to common people of France and that's where the word millionaire come from. Later the whole market went bust, and it was said this man was one of the causes for French Revolution. There was one company that was very similar in terms of power and structure to John Law of France, and that company was Enron.
Many said that when WWI happened, countries outside Europe had increased productivity while Europe was in battle, so when Europe came back, they found it hard to sell it at the right price, moreover, the war had increased the power of unionized labors, making it hard to cut down wages.
insurances first started in Scotland. Two church ministers had received the credit for establishing the first insurance funds. They first established the funds to support the widow and children of dead ministers, kind of like life insurance, and the method for calculating the formulas are created by mathmaticians. With the start of insurance, came pension funds and all sorts of government sponsored insurance plans. However, people lost all sorts of incentives to work hard, that's why later government encouraged workers to take money out of their paycheck and gave them to investors to earn return.
The book also mentioned about start of pension plans, the start of the popular game monopoly, and the start of Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It showed that people had a dream for property. That's where the bubble came. Because of the mortgage rate kept rising, inflation happened, in order to keep the inflation low, the Fed created the bust and caused the biggest scandal in american history...more