Ryan's Reviews > Jesus Lived in India: His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion

Jesus Lived in India by Holger Kersten
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Jan 24, 10

Recommended for: Former Catholics especially, but other Christians, history buffs, and nearly everyone else as well!
Read in December, 2009

This book greatly increased my respect for and faith in Jesus Christ.

I do not agree with all ideas put forward by this book. But I do find some parts of it easier to believe than Christian mainstream teachings. It suggests answers to questions that many of us have found bewilderingly unanswered and unaddressed in the religion in general, it helpfully addresses our doubts. Some of the ideas are shocking to us at first as they are completely new to us. To modify the old saying slightly, don’t judge the book by the title.

Most of the things discussed here happened so long ago that we cannot (nor does the book claim that we can) know exactly what happened. But using scholarship, research and evaluation of likely ideas this book propones ideas about Christian and Jewish history that I, personally, found to be fascinating and sometimes even satisfying.

I will not attempt to record all of the background and research supporting the ideas here, but I do encourage you all to read this book or one of several others like it, to explore the ideas. They have increased my faith in Christianity because it showed me how the foundation of that religion might have been one of love and compassion.

Some very brief examples of the content, though with no attempt to give all the evidence exhibited in the book:

The book obviously suggests an aspect of Indian (and therefore Hindu and Buddhist) influence on the life of Jesus Christ (much, though obviously not all of which, could coincide comfortably with mainstream Christian culture and teaching). In his early life, the book suggests that the 18 or so years that Christianity cannot account for, were spent studying Buddhism, perhaps in India having taken a commonly used merchant route in use at the time. (My memory of Catholic school growing up was that they teach we just don’t know what Jesus was doing from the age of 12 to 30.)

Many of the ideas and sayings of Jesus (several of the Beatitudes, the idea that faith “can move mountains,” and the saying “Do unto others as you’d have done unto you,” for a few examples) are all recorded as having existed in Indian culture before the life of Jesus. These ideas do not exist in Jewish or other parts of Western culture before Jesus’ life. This itself I find to be fascinating and compelling.

Then, as the subtitle of the book “His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion” suggests, the book indicates that Jesus was crucified, but that he survived it. It shows how there are strong indications in the canonical gospels that this is the case. Now, as I’ve discussed this book with people, already some have said how far fetched this sounds. But when I compare the idea that there was a small conspiracy in a Roman province that would have reached up the Roman chain of command only as high as some members of the army to keep one condemned man from suffering the fate of his criminal sentencing or that that man met his fate and then rose from the dead, the small conspiracy does not seem like the least plausible option.

The idea is that Nicomdemus and Joseph Arithmea, both friends of Jesus and important members of Jewish mainstream power structure of that time, did a little jail break and stole him (alive) out from under Pontius Pilate’s nose. Then, the idea goes, they nursed him back to health and that he then lived out his life, in hiding from his Jewish enemies, back in the land of his education as a peaceful and widely respected teacher. This then leads to his grave being found in Srinigar, in northern India, in a grave marked with the name Yuz Asaf, which means “leaders of of the healed” and who is revered as an Indian saint. Just two quick bits of evidence among others given here – crucifixion takes about 5 days to kill someone unless their legs are broken or some other means is taken to induce the asphyxiation that causes death in crucifixion – the Gospels make clear neither of these things took place.

The author also studies at great detail the history and scientific research of the Shroud of Turin, the authenticity of which he assures us of (this is an example of a part of the book I actually found more difficult to believe.) The Dead Sea Scrolls are examined at details as well as the Essenes, and each of their relationship to Jesus as well.

The book was very well written and reaffirming of many positive aspects of Christianity that many of us who have had questions about that faith might find reassuring. I highly recommend it.
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