Talk:James the Brother of Jesus (book)

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I included the full subtitle in the article title because James the Brother of Jesus is already taken. Maybe James the Brother of Jesus (book) would be better. dab (𒁳) 12:53, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

It would definitely be better.--SidiLemine 09:41, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Some comments[edit]

A central point Eisenman makes in the book is that the Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism that survive today are the Roman-approved versions. Other threads of Judaism and Jewish-Christianity were suppressed because of their apocalyptic and revolutionary tendencies. Although many of Eisenman's hypotheses have been overturned by physical evidence, this conjecture remains intact.

Another point that Eisenman makes repeatedly is that the Acts of the Apostles is a tenditious document, rewritten as a Roman-friendly apologetic. This has become the mainstream scholarly opinion, as evidenced by some recent discussions on academic blogs.

Eisenman explicitly identifies James the Just as the Teacher of Righteousness. This has been discredited by physical evidence (carbon-14 and paleographic dating of the DSS).

Also, Simon Peter is not the third pillar (as Paul says in Galatians) but Simeon of Jerusalem, who may be the same person as Simon the Zealot. I will have to check this out to be sure. Ovadyah (talk) 23:33, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Much of the content of this article was lifted from an online article by the Institute of Higher Critical Studies Robert Eisenman's JAMES THE BROTHER OF JESUS: A Higher-Critical Evaluationby Robert M. Price. Why wasn't it referenced? Ovadyah (talk) 23:12, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

I see it's in the external links as a review. Ovadyah (talk) 23:16, 22 December 2007 (UTC)

Proposed retitling[edit]

It seems to me that Eisenman's theories, particularly regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls, his way of interpreting the text of the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls to reach conclusions as to what he purports is the apparently otherwise unknown "original" version of the New Testament contains, etc., cross over between books, such as the book "The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins" and the "sequel" to this book. In fact, the Painter book makes a direct statement to that effect. And, of course, there is the matter of the later volume, which contains material which deals with substantially the same subject, James and the Zealots/Ebionites/Qumran Covenanters/whatever. It seems to me, based on what little I know of the other books (and, at this point, it ain't much), that it might make most sense to gather material about all the books which deal with these related books in a single article. The question would be, of course, what to call that article. Any suggestions? John Carter (talk) 17:28, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Professor Eisenman's books touch on much more than just his theories, including interpretation and translation of the scrolls. I think it best to keep a separate article and prefer the idea of gathering his books together into a single article. A possible title might be "interpretive books related to the Dead Sea Scrolls"? ScouterRay (talk) 07:51, 9 August 2010 (UTC)


I think that this is all so far out on the WP:FRINGE scale that the coverage we currently keep at Robert_Eisenman#Theories is more than enough. I do not think that this book meets WP:BK, and I would prefer it if this article was just merged into Eisenman's biography article. But I am not going to campaign for this, as I think keeping around articles on specific books with dubious notability doesn't do any damage.

Moving the article to a title that implies that this is about a "notable theory" is a different matter, and would raise serious concerns of WP:NOTE. --dab (𒁳) 15:01, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

There seem sufficient independent reviews listed in the article to pass WP:BK. --Michael C. Price talk 21:27, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

The excursus at the end of Just James by Painter on the topic of this book by Eisenman would be at least one instance of the subject being notable. I would however agree that there is at least so far as I have seen no real clear evidence that I have seen to date that the theory meets points 3 through 5 of the nutshell summary. John Carter (talk) 19:50, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Any one point is sufficient. Do you hear that? --Michael C. Price talk 20:05, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
If that incendiary comment is directed at me, I believe it is possibly yet another comment from the above party which is perhaps less than can and should be expected, particularly considering I am the first one to discuss that topic here. And the caustic perhaps somewhat insulting comment above does not directly address Dab's point about the notability of the "theory" per se. John Carter (talk) 20:11, 17 July 2010 (UTC)
My comment is about the book, not the theory, although I should have thought the latter notable as well, given the author's credentials, irrespective of whether the theory is fringe or not.--Michael C. Price talk 20:17, 17 July 2010 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

I believe Lawrence Schiffman's comments on Eisenman's theories deserve mention. In his article "Inverting Reality: The Dead Sea Scrolls in the Popular Media, Dead Sea Discoveries, V12#1, the following comments can be found on pages 28-29, quoted verbatim:

"To be sure, the initial secrecy of the international team has always helped to foster such conspiracy theories regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is the case with the theories of Barbara Thiering and Robert H. Eisenman who see Christian figures as having lived at or visited Qumran, and Norman Golb who claims that the scrolls are the remnants of the Jerusalem library of the Temple, brought to Qumran for safekeeping during the revolt of 66-73 CE, and not the library of a sectarian group who lived at Qumran. These theories are actually impossible from an objective - that is, scientific - point of view."

On the basis of this quotation, which refers to Eisenman's theories without specifically indicating books to which it relates, I believe that there is sufficient cause as per WP:RS to indicate that the book contains conspiracy theories, and that those theories have been considered "impossible" by other involved academics. To do otherwise, given the timing of the article, after all of Eisenman's books, would seem to me to be a fairly clear violation of WP:OR. If Schiffman doesn't differentiate between the theory as expressed in a number of Eisenman's works, then we can't either. John Carter (talk) 00:09, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Wallace Stegner's comments from his review in the "Books" section of Christian Century, February 4, 1998, p. 141+, as reproduced by EBSCOHost, also probably merit reference. Quoting, "... Eisenman seems to rely on three subjective methodological approaches. First, he creates a cultural background by rearranging the known parties into a new configuration. Roman power was dominant and elicited two responses: opposition and accomodation. In the accomodationist camp Eisenman places Pauline gentile Christianity and rabbinic Judaism. In opposition were Jews such as the Qumran covenanters and Jewish Christians, including James and his brother Jesus. Accordingly, both James and Jesus are pictured as legalistic, xenophobic and apocalyptic. Second, Eisenman practices a hermeneutic of suspicion, especially concerning the role of James in the Book of Acts. He argues that "the process of James' marginzalization ... was one of the most successful rewwrite - or overwrite - enterprises ever accomplished." ...This argument is the hinge on which the book swings. Third, Eisenman seeks parallels between two sources an then reads one in terms of the other. ... Eisenman similarly reads Acts in terms of the scrolls. Eisenman presents St. Paul and Josephus as primary villains. If modern ourts can scarcely establish motivation, how can Eisenman do it for ancient characters? Sweeping generalizations also mar the book. ... Altogether, Eisenman's subjective approach and the scholarly controversies he has generated make me doubt that one meets the historical James in his pages." John Carter (talk) 00:24, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Also I note in the November 15, 2010, issue of Booklist, on page 15, in a review by Ilene Cooper of the book The Missing Family of Jesus, the following comment is made: "He [the author of the book] relies overmuch on the work of Robert Eisenman, author of James, the Brother of Jesus (2002), whose writings are considered on the fringe of biblical research." That would seem to be an even more current indicator that the book is more WP:FT than WP:RS. John Carter (talk) 20:52, 27 March 2012 (UTC)