Michael Baigent is the author of From the Omens of Babylon, Ancient Traces, and the New York Times bestseller The Jesus Papers. He is also the coauthor of the international bestsellers Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Messianic Legacy (with Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh). He lives in England.
As in his previous books (Holy Blood, Holy Grail; The Jesus Papers), Baigent tries to uncover the dark forces hiding in the shadows of religion and ferret out fundamentalists whose dogmatism often turns to violence. Focusing on the end times, he warns that powerful fundamentalist sects in Christianity, Judaism and Islam are working to bring about the battle of Armageddon, when the forces of darkness will be destroyed by the Messiah, who will then bring about a new reign. All three groups want Jerusalem, where each lays claim to a physical spot, the Dome of the Rock, as a sacred place in its history; all three want a state in which politics are subservient to religion. Baigent makes the same mistake that the fundamentalists make when reading the book of Revelation. It is not a book of prophecy and "manual for frightening sinners back into the fold"; it is apocalyptic literature that uses symbols as secret codes for the state of affairs in the lives of first- and second-century Christians, offering them hope for escaping from their plights. Regrettably, Baigent's well-intentioned expose turns out to be little more than a screed against fundamentalism that is based on a misreading of his central text. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Speculative historian and New York Times best-selling author Baigent (The Jesus Papers) loves a controversy and is likely to stir one up with his latest, which posits that Jewish, Christian, and Islamic fundamentalists are conspiring to bring about an Armageddon by using myths to incite this great last battle. Correlating the tenets of the Chalcedon Foundation, Sharia law, and Americanized biblical doctrine, Baigent showcases how many believers have been trapped in a dangerous and distorted spirituality. Verdict A somber and thought-provoking book, but readership will likely be limited to secularist, seeker, or conspiracy-theory followers.-Nancy Richey, Western Kentucky Univ. Lib., Bowling Green Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.