An ancient mystery in today's Middle East....
Jack Staunton, an American businessman, makes a pilgrimage to war-torn Israel in hopes of rekindling his Christian faith. While traveling with his friend Punjeeh, an ER doctor from Jerusalem, Jack acquires an ancient scroll written by the Gnostics, a mystical group of early Christians, and his spiritual quest takes an unexpected turn. The scroll makes the startling claims that the Gnostics were the original followers of Jesus, and that they retained secret knowledge of Jesus that was not included in the Bible. With the help of the ingenious Chloe Eisenberg, a professor of Philosophy and Religion, Jack and Punjeeh navigate the dangerous terrain of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in an attempt to decipher the puzzle of the scroll and bring the Gnostics revelations about Jesus to light.
Threaded with the searing realities of today's Middle East, The Gnostic Mystery is packed with historical facts about the Christian religion. The thrilling mystery makes a compelling case that the origins of Christianity are far different than we believed...until now.
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Better as textbook than novel
Not unless they were specifically seeking information about the Gnostics or Middle East conflict. (Not as a good novel/mystery).
Not The Best (for narrating this book)
No, I think it needs to be slightly re-written, and decide whether it wants to be an informative textbook or a novel.
The information in this book is very interesting--I've personally always found the gnostics to have been a fascinating group--what little I've known about them. And the book does a lot to show the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well. However, I'd have liked this better if it had been an honest non-fiction book.
The story just feels contrived--inserting some characters and plot line to be the support for an explanation of what the author knows about these subjects. The main character is supposed to be a wealthy and successful business owner, a man of little faith, who decides to go to Israel for a trip. He is fairly unrealistic-sounding and his main role appears to be to ask the questions so that someone else can give long, scholarly-sounding answers that explain the subjects the author finds interesting.
Yes, there is a plot, and it does move along, but I felt uncomfortable through it--feeling that I wanted (and would probably have liked) either a frank history book or less didactic material in favor of character development. I think the author could have written a fascinating history/current events book. So if there is a follow up--I'm hoping that's what it will be.
Author: *very* interesting information--please put it into a different form so we can read it without feeling like an elementary school child being taught material via the cover of a thinly-written story. There is much to talk about here--and I would love to read about what you know without your having to disguise it as a novel.
Possible future reader: Do not turn away from this book--it does have interesting information in it, it is a mystery story--and others may enjoy it in its present form. Please give it a try--you may feel differently than I do about it.
- Kathi "Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy."
Explores Christianity in an Open-Minded Way
I might listen again. It had some interesting ideas I may want to revisit. I am a Christian, so before purchasing I was hoping it wasn't too anti-Christian. I would say that it is not anti-Christian overall. It certainly didn't shake my faith in any way. The author obviously has somewhat of an anti-Christian bias, as the most "enlightened" character is the professor who exposes possible historical inaccuracies in Bible stories.
The Christian character is portrayed as naive and uninformed, and this makes him unrealistic. He's a successful businessman, but he's never heard of eating hummus or the Church making its' official holidays coincide with the dates of already established Pagan holidays? I mean I have probably heard this pagan connection hundreds of times in my life. It's no big revelation, as the book portrays. You might be able to find a ten-year-old who hasn't heard of the pagan roots of some Christian practices, but certainly not an otherwise intelligent grown man. He wouldn't have his world shaken so much by some professor he just met telling him her perspective on things as if it were the gospel truth (pun intended). I think he would need to be bit more worldly and confident to be a successful business owner. Perhaps the main character could have had a young nephew accompanying him on the trip to fulfill the role of the Blank Slate in order to make some of the scenes more believable. News Flash: Hummus is regularly served at social and business events in America!
The side-plot of the Palestinian cousins was actually much more interesting than the main plot of Jack visiting his jaded friend.
It would be the two cousins who find the scroll. They are the most realistic and interesting characters in the book, and I would want to know more about their background and experiences.
Worth a listen for anyone interested in the history of Christianity and/or spiritual growth
- Reserved Powers "Mom, birdwatcher, and online teacher"