"You've Got to Read This Book!"

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"You've got to read this book! It's the oneandonly true story of Jesus!" a relative exclaimed breathily, thrusting a Urantia Book at me a few years later. That was my introduction to the UB... but I eventually read it anyway.

About 1/3 of the UB's nearly 2100 pages is a purported revelation of Jesus's life and teachings, from incarnation through resurrection and ascension. Both his early ("lost") years and his pubic teaching are told in great detail, and from a behind-the-scenes ("angelic" narrator) perspective.

The UB's Jesus teaching does not entirely comport with the Gospels, in fact and detail - would we need a "revelation" if it was just a reiteration? - but I thought it was very much the same Jesus, in Spirit, I knew from the Gospels. Hoax or revelation, it's a good read.

After I read it, I looked for other such works. There are other "lost years" and "oneandonly true stories" of Jesus.

One I can remember reading was something called the Gospel According to Levi. I was unimpressed and never finished it. Did not seem at all to me like the Jesus I knew from the Gospels. Long decades ago, that's all I recall.

There were the Apocrypha, of course. Maybe some bits were valid, but very few bits that weren't also in the Gospels. Some fantastic tales that just don't ring true. Again, this is from long time ago memory. Reading them did leave me with great respect for the folks who decided to include only the synoptic gospels and John in the New Testament.

I liked the Gospel of Thomas. A collection of sayings and stories more than the narrative-like canonical gospels. Something like the Q gospel might've been? Didn't necessariy believe it that, when the Apostles complained about the Magdalene because she wasn't a man, Jesus said, well, then, we'll give her a man's soul. But it was amusing to me.

There's also A Course in Miracles which, while not a "true story of Jesus," does purport to speak in the Son's voice. I thought there were some things to be gleaned from the Course about how evil contends with good, but that Son's voice part annoyed me and I never finished. I found it rambling and repetitive. I'm a Course drop-out.

One thing I found weird was avid Course students who believed it really was Jesus talking, yet had never read the Gospels. How could you know if it was Jesus if you'd never read the only historical sources?

Worst thing that I read along these lines (sort-of) was Michael Moorcock's sci-fi time travel work, Behold the Man. I found it pointless, disgusting, and practically blasphemous. YMMV

I kept coming back to the UB. I should mention it encouraged me to better learn the OT scriptures, the basis for Jesus' teaching.

There are many aspects in the Urantia life of Jesus that intrigue me because the detail is so rich and the writing so well-done. Descriptions of place and time and culture - someone knew what they were talking about.

One small but fascinating "revelation" for me was in the birth of Jesus narrative. Mary delivered "with the help and kind ministrations of women fellow travelers." V8 forehead slap "duh!" So crowded the innkeeper was renting out the barn? They weren't all by themselves off in some pasture!

No shepherds heard singing and came by, though.

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