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This book is an in-depth investigation of how normative Christianity framed the universe of discourse in order to establish ecclesiastical authority regarding faith-based doctrine, marginalizing mysticism as fresh revelation: Normative Christianity, grounded in the Jesus myth rather than on historical evidence and spiritual experience, holds that doctrine, ritual and observance are central to religious obligation and practice. Moreover, normative Christianity teaches that mysticism is peripheral at best, pertaining only to the greatest saints, and heretical at worst, if it claims to
Conversely, investigation shows that mystical experience — what might broadly be called
experiencing presence — is central to Jesus' teaching about entering the kingdom. Doctrine, ritual and observance are more properly viewed as being peripheral to mystical spirituality considered in the Jesus tradition as one's response to Jesus' call to enter the kingdom.
On one hand, normative Christianity claims that its doctrine and practice embody an exclusive teaching that stands in opposition to the concept of the perennial wisdom, namely, that a core spirituality can be found in the testimony of mystics and the teaching of masters worldwide from time immemorial.Normative Christianity holds that such supposed universality is merely
On the other hand, this inquiry reveals that the Way of Jesus is an expression of the perennial wisdom about core spirituality grounded in mystical experience of
presence, which is available to all and to which all are called. The argument is based on comparing Jesus' own teaching, along with the mystical tradition that grew out of it, with perennial wisdom. This mystical tradition is found to extend from the earliest beginnings to the present day.
Indeed, it would be surprising if Jesus and the mystics of the Jesus tradition were not in accord with the mystics and masters of other traditions, including their emphasis on realizing the nondual state prior to dropping the physical body. Through The Gospel of Thomas the Jesus tradition is found to have much in common with perennial wisdom.
The Gospel of Thomas is seen as an early work of the Jesus tradition rather than as primarily a Hellenistic Gnostic work. Its particular importance lies in asserting that the essence of Jesus' teaching about entering the kingdom involves realizing nonduality — a teaching remarkably similar to that of perennial wisdom. This shows explicitly that such an interpretation of Jesus' teaching was present very early. Normative Christianity subsequently suppressed this view as heretical, along with mystics who asserted it later, notably Meister Eckhart.
The thrust of this work is to show that the Jesus tradition is broader than normative Christianity. It reveals that Jesus' teaching extends beyond the way of faith alone, attributed to Paul, and the way of faith and works, attributed to James. The Way of Jesus emerges as a mystical teaching in its own right, comparable to Vedanta, Buddhism, Taoism, Qabalah, Sufism, and Neoplatonism.
This is a ground-breaking book that reorients the conventional wisdom about Jesus and his teaching, and it does so on the basis of documented evidence rather than conspiracy theory. In doing so, it places the Way of Jesus among the world's great traditions of mystical spirituality, adding its own unique contributions to the expression of perennial wisdom.
This 700+ page work is made freely available on the basis of previous donations.Who Do You Say I Am? — Free Download in PDF or Word Format zipped (corrected Apr 13, 2009):
Donations in support of this work are gratefully appreciated. Just click here for information.. You are invited to contribute to the development of projects now in progress. For instance, a commentary on The Gospel of Thomas is now close to completion.
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This is a final draft of an introductory investigation of philosophical methodology from the perspective of crtical and creative thinking about the key fundamentals of living. It illuminates the application of philosophical methodology through an examination of the emerging field of consciousness studies and the development of a theory of consciousness. According to the Fleisch Scale it is at the twelfth grade level of difficulty.