In The First Messiah renowned Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Michael O. Wise brings to light the life of Judah, a forgotten prophet who predated Jesus as a messianic figure by a century and has had a profound impact on the course of Christianity and Western civilization. Unlike Jesus, Judah left behind a personal testament, in his own words, of his relationship with God. By analyzing the Thanksgiving Hymns discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls, Wise uncovers the basis of a groundbreaking understanding of the prophetic mind. In so doing, Wise deepens our understanding of Christ, his impact on the Jewish community of his time, and even his interpretation of his own messianic role.
This book comes highly recommended as a companion to Jesus : One Hundred Years Before Christ by Alvar Ellegard. If these two theories are tied together, perhaps Judah emerges as the actual historical figure who ends up serving as the model for Christ. This happens when St. Paul adopts for his own religion the idea of Christ that he took from the group of Jews in Jerusalem headed by James. Both of these theories also mesh quite well with the holdings of Robert Eisenman in James the Brother of Jesus : The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls, which book is also recommended, if you have not already read it. Eisenman holds that James is the leader of the sect of Essenes founded by Judah, and so all three theories tie together and eliminate a large number of loose ends.
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