Wilson, who has written biographies of Tolstoy and C. S. Lewis, here critiques the Gospels and offers a lucid and absorbing, if inconclusive, meditation on the historical Jesus: the `` `real' Jesus amid so much religion and folk-lore.'' In Wilson's interpretation, Jesus was a Galilean holy man, an heir to the prophetic tradition, who possessed charismatic healing powers; it is improbable that this monotheistic Jew ever believed himself to be the Second Person of the Trinity or that he instituted the Eucharist. Wilson proposes that the feast at Cana may have been Jesus's own wedding; that the woman who poured ointment over his feet and wiped them with her hair is a detail ``too strange'' to have been invented; that Jesus's cousin John the Baptist came to disbelieve that Jesus was the Messiah; and that the Stranger seen by Jesus's disciples after his death was probably Jesus's brother James. This biography also suggests that Judas was innocent of betraying Jesus, that ``the Pharisees were among the most virtuous men who had ever lived,'' that Jesus was never tried by the Jewish Sanhedrin, and that Paul was the high priest's servant who supervised Jesus's arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/14/1992 Release date: 09/01/1992 Genre: Nonfiction
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