|Their coats are shining, and their bright alert eyes follow me as I jolt down the twisting dirt road. It's a profound experience for me. A small miracle. Then, ahead of me, I see the home of bestselling authors, W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear. I have come here today to ask questions about their book, The Betrayal that will be released in June of 2008.
I've just finished the Advanced Reading Copy, and found it stunning. The story moves back and forth through two time periods, one set in the first century and the other set in the fourth century. The first century plotline follows Joseph of Arimathea in a desperate struggle to save Jesus from being charged with treason against Rome. The fourth century plotline chronicles the story of Brother Barnabas, an Egyptian monk earnestly seeking to protect the true story of Jesus' life. The Council of Nicea (where the New Testament was created) has just declared many of the most sacred books of early Christians to be heresy, and threatened anyone found copying them with death. I've checked my history books. I know this is fact. As I follow Brother Barnabas' struggle, it becomes my own. I want to know the truth, too.
KAREN: In June of 2008, your book, The Betrayal, will hit bookstore shelves across America. It's a controversial book about the lost life of Jesus. In the non-fiction foreword you say there is an alternate story of the life of Jesus, one that has been suppressed for nineteen centuries. Could you tell me more about that? Who suppressed the information?
KATHLEEN: The Church was involved in a battle to rewrite the "facts" of Jesus life practically from the beginning, and we find the evidence for this in the ancient documents themselves. Keep in mind that the first scribes who copied the sacred books got them from earlier scribes, who got them from earlier scribes. They were literally copying copies of copies. Mistakes were bound to creep in. A later scribe couldn't read the handwriting of the earlier scribe, so he had to interpret what he thought the letters were. Some scribes were very good, and some were very bad. Later correctors often disagreed with former scribes. In one case, a later scribe, exasperated by changes he found in the fourth century Codex Vaticanus, wrote in the margin, "Fool and knave! Leave the old reading, don't change it!"
The result was that, by the second century, there were a considerable variety of New Testament texts. The manuscripts that are the closest to the original gospels are actually the ones that are the most variable and amateurish. By the time scholars start finding professional, standardized copies, in the fourth and fifth centuries, the gospels had become very different books. Twelve or thirteen verses had been added to the ending of the Gospel of Mark, and an entire chapter to John. There were two dramatically different versions of Matthew, and many individual verses and parables had either been inserted or deleted.
The conspiracy to suppress the information, however, actually begins at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 where the New Testament was officially determined. There were hundreds of different gospels circulating at the time, and the council was convened primarily to throw out controversial books, to accept certain versions of the gospels, and establish official church doctrine. Once the council had determined the official gospels, Roman emperor, Constantine, ordered that the books of "heretics," meaning Christians who held other gospels as sacred, be hunted out and destroyed. He also declared that anyone found copying them would be officially charged with heresy, which was a capital offense punishable by death.
From this point on, the Roman Empire, working with the Church, suppressed the works of anyone who not agree with the "Official Story." We see this in many places.
Kathleen pulls a book off the shelf, flips through it for a few moments, then reads "the Edict of A.D. 333:"
"Constantine, Victor, Greatest Augustus, to bishops and laity: Arius (presbyter of Alexandria who insisted that since Jesus was indisputably 'begotten,' and therefore 'human,' he must be second to God) having imitated wicked and impious men deserves the same loss of privileges as they. Therefore, just as Porphyry (a Platonist who wrote a detailed work against Christianity) that enemy of piety who put together various illegal works against religion, got his just deserts, so that… his impious books have been obliterated, thus, too, we now order that Arius and those who agree with him shall be called Porphyrians…and if any book written by Arius be found, it is to be consigned to the fire, so that not only his corrupt teachings may vanish, but no memory of him at all may remain.
KAREN: How do you know that twelve or thirteen verses were added to the Gospel of Mark?
MICHAEL: We know because of the writings of early Church fathers. For example, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, bishops who lived in the 200s, had no knowledge of vs. 9-20 of Mark. By the fourth century, Church historians Eusebius and Jerome wrote that they knew of the longer ending, but also said it was absent from almost all Greek manuscripts they had seen. The earliest Bible, known as the Codex Sinaiticus, ends at Mark 16:8. As well, Matthew 16:2, John 5:4 and 16:24 don't exist. Luke 22:43 is marked as "spurious" by the first of nine correctors who worked on the codex between the fourth and twelfth centuries, but his words were scratched out by the third corrector. The Sinaiticus manuscript also includes two books that were sacred to early Christians, the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas, that are not in the modern New Testament.
KAREN: So there was a lot of dissention in the early years of Christianity, a lot of disagreements about who Jesus was, and what he taught?
KATHLEEN: Oh, yes. In the first few decades after his death, April 7th in the year 30, there was great disagreement about the facts of Jesus' life, and what his teachings were.
New Testament readers are familiar with part of this battle from Galatians, where Paul writes that Galatian Christians were listening to "those who would pervert the Gospel of Christ," (1:7) and believing in, a "different gospel," (1:6). That "different" gospel had come from "men of repute in Jerusalem," (2:2) and Paul says that before "certain men came from James" (2:12) Cephas—Peter—had eaten with Gentiles, but after the arrival of "the circumcision party" (2:12), Cephas, Barnabas, and others separated themselves from Gentiles.
Two of the most contentious disagreements of the first and second centuries were over the virgin birth and the bodily resurrection.
KAREN: Yes, you claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin. How can you possibly know that?
KATHLEEN: To start off, remember that only Matthew and Luke use the word virgin (parthenos in Greek) for Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the case of Matthew 1:23 he was quoting from Isaiah 7:14 where the original Hebrew word was alma, which meant simply "young girl." It had none of our modern connotations of being a biological virgin.
Second, if you're searching for the truth, it's very important to ask what people who did not believe in him had to say about Jesus. And it's also important to ask why certain things were left out of the gospels. For example, the Gospel of John never mentions the name of Jesus' mother. Neither do the epistles of Paul. We have to ask, why not?
We know from the writings of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish historians that there was a very strong tradition that Jesus was an illegitimate child. For example, in A.D. 178 the Platonist historian, Celsus, wrote that Mary was pregnant by a Roman soldier named Panthera and was driven away by her husband for adultery. In addition, the Jewish story of Jesus' life, the Toledoth Yeshu, which contains remnants from the second century, also names Pantera as Jesus' father. And we know from Roman records that Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera of Sidon served as a Roman archer in Jerusalem from 6 B.C. to A.D. 6.
And the canonical gospels themselves contain references. In John 8:41 when Jesus is sparring with his Jewish critics in Jerusalem they say, "we were not born of fornication!" as if to imply that he was. As well, the non-canonical gospels have many references. In the Gospel of Nicodemus, which dates to the 300s, but probably has origins in the 100s, when Jesus is standing before Pilate, his enemy's charge, "you were born of fornication!" In verse l05 of the Gospel of Thomas Jesus says, " He who knows the father and the mother will be called the son of a whore."
Also, when Jesus goes to preach in the temple at Nazareth the people call him the 'son of Mary.' The Jewish people didn't trace descent through the female until after the destruction of the Temple in the year 70. At the time Jesus was in Nazareth, descent was traced through the male. To refer to a man as being the son of his mother was gravely offensive. It meant that his paternity was uncertain.
And later gospel writers knew this. So the writers of Matthew, Luke, and John, go to great efforts to eliminate this reference. For example, Mathew, verse 12:55, replaces Mary with Joseph, as does John in verse 6:42. Later editors change Mark's words to read things like 'the son of the carpenter.' The gospel of Mark was often 'corrected' by later writers to echo the glosses of Matthew and John.
In fact, the Pantera tradition was so widespread and persistent that early Christians could not simply dismiss it as malicious propaganda. They had to find a place for Pantera. So, for example, in the fourth century Church father, Epiphanius, gave Pantera a place in the holy family, claiming that Joseph's father was known as Jacob Pantera. As late as the eighth century attempts were still being made to explain it away, as we when John of Damascus writes that Mary's great-grandfather was named Pantera.
KAREN: I'm a little taken aback by the thought that Jesus may have, in his time, been well-known as an illegitimate child. If that is so, where does the story of Joseph come from?
MICHAEL: Again, let's look at the gospels. Mark, the earliest gospel, never mentions Joseph, either directly or indirectly. As well, the Infancy Narratives that name Joseph in Matthew and Luke are problematic. First, they tell different stories. For example, Matthew l:16, says Joseph's father was Jacob, but Luke 3:23 says his father was Heli. And none of the significant information found in the infancy narratives of either gospel is attested clearly elsewhere in the New Testament. In particular, the following items are found only in the infancy narratives:
- The virginal conception of Jesus.
- Jesus birth at Bethlehem.
- Herodian knowledge of Jesus birth and the claim that he was the king. Rather, in Matt. 14:1-2, Herod's son seems to know nothing of Jesus.
- Wide knowledge of Jesus birth, since all Jerusalem was startled (Matt. 2:3), and the children of Bethlehem were killed in search of him. Rather, in Matt. 13:54-55, no one seems to know of the marvelous origins of Jesus.
- John the Baptist is a relative of Jesus and recognized him before his birth (Luke 1:41,44.) But later in Luke 7:19 and John 1:33, John the Baptist seems to have no previous knowledge of Jesus and seems puzzled by him.
What this suggests is that the infancy narratives were once separate elements and were added later to the gospels. They are probably based upon an Old Testament pattern of birth annunciations with stereotyped features: the appearance of an angel, fear by the visionary, a divine message, an objection by the visionary, and the giving of a sign. (For example, the birth of Moses in Exod. 3:2-12 and of Gideon in Judges 6:11-32. For a comparison with Matthew's geneaology, see also Ruth 4:18-22 and 1 Chronicles 1:28, 34, and 2:1-15))
Many scholars see Matthew's version of the story as a "pre-Matthean narrative associating the birth of Jesus, son of Joseph, with the patriarch Joseph and the birth of Moses." Note also that Joseph, Jesus' "father," like the Old Testament Joseph, had a father named Jacob, went to Egypt, had dreams of the future, was chaste, and was disinclined to shame others, which points to the possibility of there being a "Joseph typology" in Luke 1-2. In other words, using the "Joseph" story was not intended to convey fact, but rather to associate Jesus' birth with other mythic events. Both of the infancy narratives seem to be largely products of early Christian reflection on the salvific meaning of Jesus Christ in light of Old Testament prophecies.
In other words, the Infancy Narratives tell us practically nothing about the historical Jesus—nor about his father.
As an aside, many of the early Christian churches used versions of these gospels that did not include the Infancy narratives, probably because they knew they were suspect. This is demonstrated when Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrrhus in Syria, writes about the "heretic" Tatian in 450 A.D.:
"This fellow also composed that gospel called "By the Four," cutting off the genealogies and such other things as show that the Lord was, as for his body, a descendent of David. Not only the adherents of his party used this gospel, but also those who followed the apostolic teaching…. I found more than two hundred such books revered in the churches of my own diocese, and collecting them all, I did away with them and introduced instead the gospels of the four evangelists.
KAREN: I was intrigued by your analysis of the Gospel of Mark. You say that the author of that gospel probably lived in Rome, and that all the ugly things he says about Jews had a political context. What was going on politically?
KATHLEEN: When Jesus' brother James was murdered some time between A.D. 62-70, relations within Judaism began to fall apart, then the Jewish Revolt of 66 cut all communications with the mother church in Jerusalem. Mark and his community in Rome were suddenly rudderless. To make matters worse, to the Romans, Christians were Jews. Judaism and Christianity did not split until around A.D. 85, at exactly the time when the gospels of Matthew and Luke were being written. To the Romans there were Jews who believed the messiah had come, and there were Jews who believed the Messiah had not yet come. The persecution must have been unbearable. In part, at least, Mark's gospel was probably a deliberate attempt to shout, "We are not Jews!" Undoubtedly one of the reasons Mark chose to vilify Jews in his gospel was that by shifting the blame for Jesus' death from Rome, where it belonged, to the Jews, it solved a major public relations problem for Christians in Rome. It was like saying, "Yes, the Jews are killing your sons and husbands in Palestine, but they also killed our Lord. We are not Jews! In fact, we hate Jews as much as you do!" The historical legacy of Mark's vilification, however, is wrenching. Before the end of the first century, Christians were forbidden to enter synagogues. By the close of the fourth century, marriages between Jews and Christians were prohibited, and if such marriages occurred, they were treated as adultery. Legislation was promulgated forbidding Jews to proselytize, or build new temples, and if a temple had been destroyed, they were forbidden to rebuild it.
His words have, unfortunately, been used to support the murder of millions—though at the time, they were simply self-defense.
KAREN: You mention that the gospels of Matthew and Luke date to around A.D. 80-85. What do the other gospels actually date to, and who wrote them? We all know they are attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but you say those are made-up names. Who made them up and when?
MICHAEL: Yes, the documents themselves are silent as to the names of their authors. During the second century, early Christian scholars attributed the books to Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, but nowhere in the texts is the author cited.
Mark dates to between A.D. 68-70, Matthew to around A.D. 80, Luke dates to A.D. 85, and John to around A.D. 100. The earliest written works that record Jesus' life are actually seven letters from Paul, which date to the 50s, and are incorporated in the New Testament (Scholars generally agree that Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon are genuinely from Paul's hand). But the first versions of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John did not appear until after the deaths of James, Peter and Paul, which occurred just before the destruction of the Temple of A.D. 70—almost forty years after the death of Jesus.
Incidentally, the oldest surviving New Testament gospel is a 3.4 inch tall fragment of the Gospel of John that dates to around A.D. 125-135. The earliest copies of the other gospels date to the fourth or fifth centuries.
KAREN: I want to know how you can claim that he did not bodily resurrect from the cross, when the New Testament clearly says that he did. If he didn't resurrect, what happened to his body?
KATHLEEN: Remember that the earliest version of the earliest gospel, Mark, has no resurrection, nor does the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas. We know that Matthew and Luke, written a decade or two later, include the story of the resurrection. Also, many early Christians did not believe in the resurrection. We know this because early Church leaders like Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, A.D. 70-156, wrote an attack against those who "denied the resurrection" by, he says, "perverting the logia of the Lord." Apparently collections of Jesus sayings and life story were circulating that did not include the resurrection, probably more than just the gospels of Mark and Thomas.
Scholars generally agree that Matthew and Luke used two "gospels" to compose their stories: the Gospel of Mark, which they incorporated almost word for word, and an unknown gospel that scholars refer to as the "Q" document. One of the interesting things about the Q document is that it contains no references to Jesus' miraculous birth or his resurrection. A good analysis of this can be found in Chapter 3 of Philip Jenkins' book, Hidden Gospels. How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way.
What seems clear is that there was an early Christian community that saw little significance in the idea of the Virgin Birth or the Resurrection, or had not yet felt the need to invent the stories. They believed that Jesus' significance lay in his words and his words alone.
As to what happened to his body, according to Jewish law his relatives would have been required to bury him. In the sixteenth century, Rabbi Isaac Luria listed Jesus' burial site in Galilee, just north of Safed, in a graveyard he called, "the burial places of the righteous."
KAREN: Many Christians believe that the Bible is infallible. Yet you say that there are undeniable factual errors in the New Testament gospels. For example?
MICHAEL: Let's just talk about a few of the obvious errors.
- Despite what the Evangelists record, we know from a wide variety of historical resources that there was no eclipse of the sun during Passover of the year 30. There was an eclipse of the sun during the month of Nisan (April) in the year 33, but it was utterly invisible from Jerusalem. The only solar eclipse visible from Jerusalem during the time period in question occurred on November 24th of the year 29. There were however eclipses of the moon on the eve of Passover in the years 30 and 33.
- The authors of the gospels call Pontius Pilate the "Procurator" of Judea. That term is incorrect. Governors were not referred to as Procurators until after the reign of Claudius in A.D. 41. When Jesus was alive, Pilate was called the Prefect of Judea, which we know not only from Roman records, but from archaeological inscriptions that date to the period of his rule.
- The story of Barabbas' release invokes a tradition called the privilegium paschale that did not exist in the time of Jesus. Had there been either a Jewish or Roman law establishing such a Passover custom there would be a record of its application either before Jesus, or immediately after him, by some governor, bishop or priest somewhere. There isn't. Not until the year 367 do we find a Roman law which establishes a custom for pardoning criminals on the feast of Easter, "except for those guilty of sacrilege, adulterers, ravishers, or homicides." So, even in A.D. 367, the convicted murderer, Barabbas, would not have been eligible for release.
- Luke states that "It happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world be registered for a tax, the decree first went out while Cyrenius was governor of Syria." This is the census that leads Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem where Jesus was supposedly born. However, we know Cyrenius, which is the Greek form of the name Quirinius, was governor of Syria in A.D. 6-7. We know that the census was held in A.D. 6-7 both from an inscription in Aleppo in Syria, as well as from Josephus. There is no other evidence for an empire-wide census during the reign of Augustus… so Luke got the date wrong.
Such anachronisms are very important because they help scholars date the documents.
KAREN: Certainly some of the most powerful and sacred moments in the New Testament occur around Jesus' arrest and trial before Kaiaphas, yet you say in your book that the gospels are wrong, that the Jews could not possibly have tried or condemned Jesus on the eve of Passover? Why not?
KATHLEEN: It was against Jewish law. The Sanhedrin could not try a criminal case in a private house, even the High Priest's house, it was not allowed to try cases at night, or on festival days, or on the eve of festival days—all of which the gospels say happened.
The ignorance of Jewish Law displayed by the authors of the gospels is simply colossal.
KAREN: You claim that the only reason for the Sanhedrin to have held a council meeting that night was to prepare a defense for Jesus when he went to Trial before Pontius Pilate the next morning. Why would High Priest Kaiaphas, his enemy, do that?
MICHAEL: Because there was a lot more at stake than just one man's life. Jesus was, according to all sources, beloved by the people, and certainly some members of the Sanhedrin felt the same way. We know that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus could have been counted upon to defend a beloved Jewish son from the hated Roman oppressors. Pilate had assembled three Roman legions around Jerusalem for Passover, either because he expected trouble, or because he wanted to provoke it. The Sanhedrin must have been terrified that Jesus' death would spark a revolt that would result in the destruction of Israel--as Kaiaphas says in John 11:47-48, and history demonstrated that Kaiaphas was right. The insurrection against Rome that began in A.D. 66 ended with the Temple burned, Jerusalem in ashes, and the population decimated and scattered.
Also, consider what the four gospels say. A condemnation (guilty sentence) is found only in Mark 14:64. Matthew 26:66 records that the Sanhedrin "said" he was guilty. Luke 22:71 has the Sanhedrin saying only "what need we of further witnesses." And John deletes the entire trial, probably because he understood Jewish Law better than the other Greek-speaking evangelists.
If the Sanhedrin met that night, it was not to hold court.
KAREN: So you say Jesus was tried for a crime against Rome: Treason. Is there any evidence of this trial in the Roman archives? Surely if he'd been so tried Pilate would have had to make a report.
KATHLEEN: Though Pilate would have been required to make such a report, there isn't one in the Roman archives. The logical explanation is that there was no official trial. First of all, a confession would have made a trial unnecessary. Also, Pilate was well-known for executing prisoners who had never seen trial. Add to this the fact that Roman historian, Tacitus (A.D. 55-115) writes in his Annales, 15.44, only that Pilate had Jesus executed. He mentions no trial.
KAREN: You say that the apostle Peter and Mary Magdalen practically hated each other. I have to tell you, it's hard for Christians to imagine either of these people "hating" anyone, let alone each other. What's the evidence for that?
MICHAEL: We find evidence for it in several non-canonical books, the Gospel of Philip, the Dialogue of the Savior, the Gospel of Mary, the Pistis Sophia. Here are a couple of examples:
- In the Gospel of Mary, after the crucifixion the disciples are terrified and disheartened and ask Mary to tell them what the Savior said to her secretly. When she does, Peter, furious, says: "did he really speak privately with a woman?... Are we to turn about and all listen to her?" Mary, upset by his anger, says, "My brother, Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?" At this point Levi breaks in and says, "Peter, you have always been hot-tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. If the savior made her worthy, who are you to reject her?"
- In the Pistis Sophia, another argument occurs between Mary and Peter. Peter complains that Mary is dominating the conversation with Jesus and displacing the rightful priority of Peter and the other apostles. He urges Jesus to silence her, but Jesus rebukes him and says that "whoever the Spirit inspires to speak is divinely ordained to speak, whether man or woman." Later, Mary says to Jesus, "Peter makes me hesitate: I am afraid of him because he hates the female race."
- And in the Gospel of Thomas, Peter says, "Let Mary leave us for women are not worthy of life."
KAREN: The Gospel of John 18:31 credits Jews with saying to Pilate, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death…" You say this could not possibly have been said by any Jew with any authority, because it's simply not true. How do you know?
KATHLEEN: Because the Sanhedrin DID exercise jurisdiction over capital cases, as is verified by Acts 4:1-22 and 5:17-42, as well as the historian, Josephus, in his Jewish Wars, 6,2,4.
KAREN: Christians who believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary are going to be disturbed by your claim that Jesus had four brothers and two sisters. What were their names? How do you know they were real brothers and sisters? And not just step-brothers, or cousins?
MICHAEL: All of the extant original gospels were written in Greek. The Greek word for "brother" is adelphos. While the term was often used symbolically, when it applies directly to Jesus, as in Mark 6:3, when the text says that Jesus is the son of Mary and brother (adelphos) of James, Joses, Jude and Simon, it clearly means a physical relationship, not just a symbolic one. In fact, if it didn't, the entire passage would make no sense. There is no clear case in the New Testament where adelphos means step-brother or cousin. The Greek term for cousin is anepsios, and Mark does not call any of these men Jesus' anepsios. As well, in both Galatians 1:19, and 1 Corinthians 9:5, Paul uses the term adelphos, when he is talking about the brothers of Jesus. He does not use the term anepsios.
We know the probable name of only one of Jesus' sisters, Mary.
This tradition of Jesus having real brothers and sisters was kept alive by at least some Church leaders up until the fourth century, when Mary's perpetual virginity was established as Church dogma.
KAREN: You say that in A.D. 135, Golgotha, the location of the tomb of Jesus, became a landfill, and was covered over by temple to Aphrodite. Who did that and why? Were they trying to destroy the tomb of Jesus?
MICHAEL: After the Bar Kokhba rebellion, which lasted from A.D. 132-135, Emperor Hadrian, who was trying to destroy the Jews and everything they cherished, changed the name of Jerusalem to Colonia Aelia Capitolina, and as part of the construction of the city turned the Kraniou Topon, the Place of the Skull, into a vast landfill upon which he built a Temple to Aphrodite.
And that was not the only time sacred Christian sites were assaulted. In the year 303, Emperor Diocletian ordered the destruction of all Christian churches and texts.
KAREN: You say that disagreements in the New Testament gospels created a big controversy over the date of Easter. What "disagreements?"
KATHLEEN: This was a very difficult subject in early Christianity. In Asia Minor, Easter was celebrated on the Jewish Passover (Pesach), that being the date of the crucifixion in the Gospel of John. But Matthew, Luke and Mark make the Last Supper the Passover meal, and place the crucifixion a day later. In the 150s Polycarp of Smyrna visited Rome to discuss this issue, but no agreement could be reached. Rome insisted upon celebrating Easter on the Sunday following the full moon after the spring equinox, and nothing was going to change its mind. In the l90s, Bishop Victor of Rome was so upset that the churches in Asia Minor celebrated Easter on the Jewish Passover that he threatened to excommunicate anyone who did not adopt the Roman date. In the mid-third century Bishop Stephen of Rome got into a vehement argument over this subject with Bishop Cyprian of Carthage, who had the support of the Greek East. It was the first occasion on which the Bishop of Rome is known to have invoked Matthew 16:18 to justify the primacy of Rome. This disagreement would be one of the lasting disputes between the Eastern Church and the Western Church.
KAREN: You footnoted your novel. Isn't that a little unusual? I mean, fiction is fiction, right?
MICHAEL: Yes, and no. In all of our books we use the best non-fiction information available to recreate the past. With this book, we felt it was especially important to footnote our sources. People have a right to know where the information comes from.
KAREN: You are both archaeologists. As you say, you routinely "dig up dirt about peoples' past." You must have known this book would stir up a lot of controversy. Why did you want to write The Betrayal?
KATHLEEN: Because over the centuries the myth of Jesus has so obscured the actual facts of his life that his true story has been lost. We wrote The Betrayal in the heartfelt belief that people have a right to know who and what Jesus was. They have a right to read his original words, as best scholars can determine them, not those put into his mouth by later politicians with a doctrinal agenda.
We genuinely believe that knowledge does not destroy faith. It does not take Jesus away. In fact, we hope The Betrayal can give back the profound meaning of his life that has been stolen by centuries of revisionism.
KAREN: Thank you for allowing me to come into your home.
As I drive back up the winding dirt road and climb out of Red Canyon, I see the snow-capped peaks of the Big Horn Mountains shining in the moonlight. This has been an enlightening, if often difficult, journey for me. I'm not overstating when I say that The Betrayal is a life-changing read. The non-fiction "End Notes" alone are worth the price of admission. Whether you are a Christian, Jew, or any other religion, you won't regret picking up this book.