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About the Author

Donald Harman Akenson is currently Douglas Professor of Canadian and Colonial History at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. He was also Beamish Research Professor of Migration Studies at the University of Liverpool from 1997 to 2004 and Honorary Professor at the Research Institute of Irish and mostrar mais Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen. Akenson has received six honorary doctorates for his scholarly work. mostrar menos


Obras de Donald Harman Akenson

God's Peoples (1992) 23 cópias
The Irish Diaspora: A Primer (1993) 20 cópias
The Lazar house notebooks (1981) 2 cópias
Brotherhood week in Belfast (1984) 2 cópias
The Edgerston Audit (1988) 1 exemplar(es)

Associated Works


Conhecimento Comum



Fascinating and surprisingly readable for such a long, detailed work of non-fiction.
June6Bug | Nov 11, 2012 |
Surprisingly readable for such a long, detailed work of non-fiction.
June6Bug | Nov 11, 2012 |
The writer seeks - through an analysis of everything known about Paul - to "create a skeleton key to unlock the historical Jesus." But the author forgets or ignores one thing that undermines his thesis from the start - "Paul knows not Jesus." This lack of recognition led Alvin Boyd Kuhn to title one the chapters of his work "Who is this King of Glory," "'The Shout of Paul's Silence." If Paul were speaking about an historical Jesus Christ, his descriptions of his visits to Jerusalem would have been entirely different and completely reverential; something like, "...and the very brother of our Lord Jesus, James himself told me how our Lord cleansed..." There is nothing remotely like this in any of Paul's actual writings and he has no respect at all for Peter and is ambivalent towards the group in Jerusalem that identified itself as "the family of the Lord." This alone should make it clear that Paul's Christ is something other than a literal incorporated God named Jesus. Finally, no matter how you do the math, if one compares Paul's most probable date of birth with the likely dates for the "birth" of Jesus, they must have been alive at the same time - at least long enough for Paul to have heard something about Jesus while Jesus was still alive. This creates all sorts of problems doesn't it? In short, Mr. Akenson's knowledge is exceptional. However, its quality and his insights are marred by his assumption that there was a living Jesus who was the one Christ and God incorporate as a literal misinterpretation of the Gospels may imply. This blinds him to the implications of Paul's own writings - that the Jesus story is a form of a Hebrew "dying and resurrecting god-man allegory" in which it is believed that everyone may have a "Christ" within. Like it or not, Paul's actual writings (minus the later "modifications," corrections," insertions, and outright forgeries) show that he was indeed a, or the first, gnostic . Therefore one cannot take his writings and try to reverse engineer a Jesus from them. That is something that would be beyond even the brightest minds of area 51.… (mais)
millsge | 1 outra resenha | Jun 25, 2009 |
Akenson's book is a lively and substantial exploration of the process of religious canonization of texts in the Biblical tradition. The author is an historian by trade, and has no preexisting partisan status in the interminable feuds of biblical origins scholarship. In particular, he spurns the entire "source critical" procedure of reifying postulated proto-texts, preferring to focus on the inseparable literary and ideological motives of the compiler/author(s) of the texts that we do have.

Akenson recognizes that the Temple scheme, along with its metaphoric precursors and its supplementary successors, is the core of the tradition: "a concentric architecture of holiness, one that is also a genealogy of legitimacy."

Although the word "invention" may be a little alarming to those who fear that the book will treat the Bible as fiction, it instead denotes the creative element in composing historical text, the divine creativity that was expressed in the human effort to contribute these texts to posterity. But Akenson neither coddles nor argues with Biblical inerrantists and their fundamentalist kindred. In his only condescension to acknowledge that intellectual position, he remarks: "This sort of thing cannot be fought, so it is best ignored."

There is a fairly happy amount of invention in Surpassing Wonder itself, and the reader may be swept up in the fascination of the meta-historical narrative to the point where there is an expectation for some grand resolution of the story. But all that Akenson offers in closing is some ecumenist sentiments regarding commonality between Jews and Christians. To my mind, a compelling "conclusion" would emphasize the journey, rather than a destination. There is no reason to suppose that what the author terms the "Re-Invention of the Species" of sacred literature has come to a halt. Some nods to the Quran and The Book of Mormon could demonstrate how the old foundations of Hebrew scripture continue to serve as a rule and guide in the development of texts which inscribe an ongoing relationship between the human and the divine.
… (mais)
3 vote
paradoxosalpha | outras 2 resenhas | Feb 6, 2007 |


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