The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?
Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
An academic treatise on the origins of the Jesus myth, both Freke and Gandy capture the "all religions are aspects of the same Divinity" with clarity and vision. As a Pagan married to an Agnostic, we read this book together and found more common ground than we had initially suspected. This book tends to have two responses: either (from a Christian perspective) my religion isn't the only one/isn't real so now I am lost -or- (from any perspective) religion is in the eye of the beholder and we are all on a journey.
Grounded in the premise that Jesus never existed in human form and was a creation by Jewish mystics based on the resurrecting Godmen from other faiths (namely Osiris, Dionysus, Attis, Mithra, and others), this book follows the beginning of the Christian movement and gives the reader two, conflicting paths: that of the Literalists, who seemingly "won" the battle and now leave their legacy of Christianity, and that of the Gnostics, who initially created the Jesus myth for their people to have a "Mystery" religion and were wiped out by the Literalists in a bloody war for religious supremacy.
In addition to a well thought and well documented argument, the writers give detailed endnotes and citations, allowing the reader to verify information or just to delve deeper into the philosophical and religious circle they open. I have used this book in my discussions with other Pagans, especially those "hurt" by Christians or Christianity as a way to heal and also as a way to explain that, truly, we are all the same. It is a must have for any religious library and for anyone looking to understand their neighbor, regardless of religious background.