In 2006 I published a best-selling book with what seemed a rather odd and clumsy title for a Jesus book, namely The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity (Simon & Schuster). Every term in that title was carefully and deliberately chosen–and the phrase “the birth of Christianity,” was intended to imply something beyond Jesus–in contrast to the “Hidden History” the book sought to explore. Reviews were mixed, for example, see my three-part response to my friend and mentor, the late New Testament scholar and archaeologist, Jim Strange, and his review in Biblical Archaeology Review. The review was quite appropriately titled–Was Christianity all a mistake? And I suppose my answer, given the context and thrust of the argument of the book, would be, “Well, actually yes,” if one cares much about the historical figure of Jesus as we can recover him in his own time.
Few think of Jesus of Nazareth as part of the royal family of David–even though Paul affirms the same as our earliest source–namely that he was descended from the messianic lineage of King David (Romans 1:3). Given that pedigree, that means Jesus’ brothers and sisters, as children of Mary, which I have argued elsewhere, would likewise be this royal family. Thus when James/Yaaqov, brother of Jesus, succeeds him in leading the Nazarene movement–we are talking about a Dynasty or Caliphate with bloodline succession. This lecture expands on that issue and why the emerging Christian Church was so bent on either playing down or in some cases erasing this dynastic family of Jesus.