The Gospel of Jesus: In Search of his Original Teachings, 1068 pages, by John Davidson MA (Cantab).
Due to the nature of this book and in order to make it accessible to as wide a readership as possible, its entire production, up to the printing and binding stage was performed as a service, freely given by the Publisher, ELEMENT in 1995.
So the price of this mammoth 1068 page book was kept down to $22 (US) and 14.95 Sterling (UK)! It has been distributed around the world.
“It would seem, then, that there is considerable divergence between the teachings of Jesus and those of Christianity, and although these initial chapters are more concerned with the historical aspects of Jesus and the New Testament, the main emphasis of this book is on Jesus’ actual teachings. Therefore, since it is suggested that his teachings were those of a mystic, it will be helpful to discuss the nature of mysticism … it is something that a person lives, not a philosophy or doctrine which has been read or studied.”
It’s hard to imagine a single question, by ‘Christian’, atheist, agnostic, religionist or Seeker, that could be left unaddressed in this clearly written labour of love and tireless scholarly integrity. Even more impressive is the new knowledge, the insights and understanding this seminal work reveals of the workings of the mystic experience throughout history.
However, as my mystical experiences were spontaneous I have to lean to the proposition that the mystical experience of Reality (MER) cannot be achieved through reading, study, good works or anything else merely human.
I can only agree that such human hungering and thirsting for the experience can sensitise one strongly to a greater awareness of the ultimate mystical experience, but no more than that.
Discrimination is important when exposing oneself to “works” on mysticism. You could get diverted into morality and ethics, stuff of the human spirit, not the entirely different ‘spirit’ of Reality.
(Davidson says he’s been interested in mysticism all his life but doesn’t say anything about any personal experience that would qualify him as a mystic so he might be a case in point?).
Nevertheless, this book has to be recommended for those seeking some validation for their present unbidden passion for Seeking.
You might also be interested in other works by Davidson:
After leaving Cambridge University where he taught for 18 years, he wrote a series of five books on science and mysticism. The intention was to give a voice to the idea that an understanding of science was in no way incompatible with a spiritual perception of things.
These books received great reviews, and have been well received by the general public, especially by those who think “outside the box”, he says. They have been translated into a number of languages.
In 1989, Davidson began researching the origins of Christianity, to see if it was possible to determine what Jesus actually taught.
The main fruits of this research were first published in this book, The Gospel of Jesus: In Search of His Original Teachings (1995), revised in 2004. He has written several books concerning the origins of Christianity, largely containing stories, parables and poetry from early Christian times.
At the same time as he started research on The Gospel of Jesus, he began work on what was to become the multi-volume, A Treasury of Mystic Terms, of which Part I (six vols., 2003) and Part II (4 vols., 2016) have so far been published. Part III (six vols.) is completed and will be published in 2018 or early 2019, and Part IV is presently in progress.
This Treasury is the result of contributions from a large number of contributors from various cultural and religious backgrounds. Its intention is to demonstrate the fundamental and universal elements in the world’s religious and spiritual traditions, for both information and inspiration.