The Real Messiah: The Throne of St. Mark and the True Origins of Christianityby Stephan Huller
Highly controversial but impeccably researched, The Real Messiah explodes the myth that Jesus was the long-prophesied Messiah of the Jewish nation. Indeed, it argues that Jesus never claimed that role but thought of himself as herald to the true Messiah: Marcus Julius Agrippa, the last King of the Jews and Jesus’ contemporary. It was he who truly founded what became known as Christianity, and wanted to build a faith to which anyone could aspire. Though Marcus Agrippa was initially successful, with the passing of time those in charge of the new faith capitulated to the whims of successive Roman Emperors and centered their religion on Jesus instead.
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Meet the Author
Stephan Huller, a Canadian by birth, discovered that he is a direct descendant of Jacob Frank, an 18th century Jewish messianic leader. Frankist Jews are known to have reconciled Christianity and Judaism as if they always belonged together. Stephan’s discovery of his heritage inspired the research that he has conducted over twenty years and culminated in the writing of The Real Messiah. He is actively engaged with helping the Samaritan people of Israel, an ancient sect of Judaism which numbers about 700 people who currently live in Nablus and Tel Aviv.
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The Real Messiah is a fascinating read which challenges all of our inherited assumptions about Christianity. Huller begins with a basic assumption about St. Mark. He was an artist who created the gospel as a work of art. This doesn't mean that Christianity is a big lie. Rather Huller's point is to say that there is a kernel of historical truth - i.e. that someone was crucified in Jerusalem during the Passion and that Mark claimed to have seen the events that led to his death and actively participated in that narrative. Indeed according to Huller, the narrative is really about Mark rather than Jesus. Jesus stands in the foreground but all throughout the margins of the gospel narrative there is Mark. We don't know that he is Mark. He is called by a variety of names and codes, but it is Mark who is the young boy who emerges from the tomb and goes on to reveal that he is the Christ because of stigmata on his hands and feet. This is what Huller does best. He pulls together bits and pieces of things which don't make sense in our inherited understanding - in this case why is that Jesus has to prove he is Jesus by showing signs on his hands and feet if it was just 'Jesus' sitting there in front of the disciples and they know he was crucified? Huller's answer is quite intriguing - it's because IT ISN'T JESUS. The disciples never for a moment think they are in the presence of their Lord until they see the signs on his hands and feet. You will have to read the book for yourself to understand how this story fits together. All that I can say is that what Huller is proposing is clear - that Mark wrote a narrative which was supposed to be at the heart of a new Alexandrian mystery religion. As such no one outside of the priesthood of the Alexandrian Church knew that little Mark was really Marcus Agrippa. The Real Messiah is a wonderful attempt to get 'behind the curtain' of the secrets of the ancient Alexandrian Church. This, Huller claims, is a secret that has never before been revealed to the world. The reason I didn't give the book a five star rating is that it seems to me that Huller deliberately wrote this book for people that don't have much knowledge about things related to the Bible. His blog is written at a much higher level and I actually prefer getting the same information for free over there. I also wish the book was written with more footnotes and developed with an academic audience in mind. With that said, I know from his blog that the book in many ways works as a mirror image of the Alexandrian Church. Huller notes that the Letter to Theodore of Clement of Alexandria specifies that the Alexandrian Church had two gospels - the Gospel of Mark which was hidden and reserved only for the initiated priesthood and revealed to them the hidden identity of 'the Real Messiah' and 'the account of the doings of the Lord' associated with Peter. Huller's point it seems is to announce the truth that he believes was so carefully guarded and hidden from previous generations. The result is a highly mythical narrative about an eight year old boy which was meant to compete with contemporary mystery religions like those associated with Harpocrates and Antinous. Is Christianity true? Did any of this happen? Huller's point is to say these aren't question that would be asked in antiquity, so neither should we.
The author has done his homework and then some. I want more and I want everyone to read the book.
The Real Messiah is a great book for people who want to think about religion and not just believe what they are told by so-called 'experts.' I am not sure that Huller has worked out every aspect of his theory but I found it very entertaining.
From the beginning of time, there have been men who were larger than life and upon whom the pivot of history turned. To find these men, one need only look. Their deeds are preserved in monument, story and song: Julius Caesar, Plato, Archimedes, Akhenaton, Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Muhammad, Hitler, Charlemagne, King Richard the Lion-heart, King John, Leonardo da Vinci and Jesus, to name a few. Two thousand years ago, one man changed the face of religion and the course of history by his death and resurrection. His teachings endured in spite of Rome's pogroms to stamp out the slave religion. Roman emperor Constantine embraced those beliefs, organized and built the most powerful religion on Earth, one that still endures. That man was Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, a simple carpenter. Every year at Easter Christians celebrate his triumph over the grave, but did the Roman Catholic Church get it wrong? Did the church fathers tamper with history and create a god out of the messenger sent to pave the way for the true Jewish Messiah? Stephan Huller spent twenty years of his life traveling, researching and consulting with historians, linguists and theologians in his search for the truth. The Real Messiah is the culmination of that search; the evidence it contains fills in the gaps that theologians and Christian apologists have sought to reconcile over for nearly twenty centuries. According to the prophecies, "[t]he intended [Jewish] Messiah had to be a king-not simply in a spiritual sense, but also in a political sense, [whose] arrival would alter Judaism forever. It would mean an abandonment of the Laws of Moses and a completely new Covenant with God that would be so all-encompassing that the very Temple of Jerusalem would be abolished and ultimately destroyed." With that beginning to his story, Huller lays the groundwork and details the life and times of The Real Messiah Marcus Julius Agrippa, last king of the Jews, a contemporary of Jesus, and the author of the four gospels of the new testament, also known as St. Mark. The proof begins with a small throne carved in one piece from alabaster in Alexandria in Egypt and now housed in Venice. In what amounts to heresy, Huller boldly breaks down the myths and legends surrounding the story of Jesus and unfolds a story full of intrigue, mystery, ".incest, one of the most famous love affairs of its time, and a genius for power-play and influence that any dictator or monarch would have admired." The Real Messiah is a fascinating, carefully researched, complex puzzle built on solid scholarship and grounded in Jewish mysticism. The truth is not out there, it is here.
Having studied New Testament theology in college, I thought I knew everything there was to know about Christianity. There certainly are a new crop of books which come out every year that develop essentially silly theories about my religion, but I never pay much attention to those books. This book is very different. Huller apparently has waited twenty years to publish this book, and the attention to detail shows. Huller asks us one question above all else - what was Mark thinking when he wrote his gospel? This incredibly simple line of reasoning opens up a number of provocative questions which ultimately lead to his great discovery - Mark was Marcus Julius Agrippa, the last king of the Jews and Christianity was the religion established for Jewish proselytes in the aftermath of the Roman conquest (c. 70 AD). No one can overstate the significance of this understanding. Not only does it make intuitive sense, Huller's rediscovery of the true identity of the historical architect of Christianity helps us get out from under the control of those who want to keep things the same and ends up opening up a whole new understanding of the most influential religion in history. Huller suggests maybe Christianity wasn't about Jesus being the Christ. In this he argues that Jews were right. Huller also asks maybe Jesus was just a messenger for someone else exactly as the Islamic tradition has always held. Indeed the thrust of his book is that maybe the people of the Middle East, the people from Jesus part of the world who know him best. After reading all 268 pages of this book most of us will likely end up agreeing with Huller.
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I am not the sort of person who usually buys this kind of book but a friend of mine just died a few months back and I actually went to church for the first time in a long time. I happened to be have a well paying job and never really gave religion very much thought in my life. I was raised Catholic but I stopped going when I was young. The point is that I went to church over Christmas and I actually tried to make sense of why we do what we do as Christians and couldn't make sense of any of it. I know we are not supposed to do that. We are just supposed to believe and let God take care of the rest but when I sat there during the mass I just wanted to know WHY it has to be this way. I mean what value can there possibly be in just doing something which doesn't make any sense to any of us. I should also tell you that I happened to be married to a Jewish man so you can imagine how weird it was to have this other person beside me while I was trying to convince myself to continue doing something which doesn't make sense to me or anyone else. My husband would ask me, why is Jesus the messiah and I had to admit that outside of an inherited belief that was passed on to me by my mother (who didn't have a clue either) there was no definite answer. I told a friend of mine at work how strange I felt over Christmas being at church with my Jewish husband and she told me about this book - the Real Messiah. She said it could answer all my questions but that the answers would blow me away. I remember hearing her mention the book and then I forgot about it until I was walking through the bookstore the other day. The red cover really stood out. I looked at it and saw that the author Stephan Huller had discovered this real live Da Vinci Code on ancient throne in Venice which explained the whole true history of Christianity. At first I was sceptical. However my husband had heard about this guy on the radio and we decided to buy the book. I found the first chapters quite difficult but after a while Eric and me read through the book together. I would put it down for a while and he would start reading it and the more we talked about it together we could piece together the argument. I was surprised to see Stephan Huller's idea is really straightforward. He says that Jesus can't be the messiah because he was never a king of the Jews. Huller also says that there was a king, the last king of the Jews, who lived at the time of Jesus who wrote the gospel and his name was Mark, Marcus Julius Agrippa (Marcus is Roman for Mark). The author explains that the religion was a secret religion where no one knew the truth except for the believers inside the religion. Only the outsiders thought that everyone worshipped Jesus. In reality in the early days of Christianity there was a secret society which really taught that Mark, the author of the original gospel was really the messiah pointed out by Jesus. Of course I can't do as good a job explaining the idea as the original author. Yet if there is one criticism of the book it is that he goes into TOO MUCH detail. Sometimes you feel he is writing for academics and other times for everyone else. Nevertheless it is one that everyone should read if they want to make sense of their religion. I guess the author's final point is that no one knows the right answer any more because we spend too much time believing and too little time thinking about what we believe. Highly recommend