Heretic: Jesus Christ and the Other Sons of God (Hardcover)

Heretic: Jesus Christ and the Other Sons of God By Catherine Nixey Cover Image

Heretic: Jesus Christ and the Other Sons of God (Hardcover)

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From a celebrated classicist and author of The Darkening Age (“[a] ballista-bolt of a book”—New York Times Book Review), a biography of the many, diverse variations of Jesus who thrived in early Christian traditions—and how they were killed off until just one “true” Christ survived.

Contrary to the teachings of the church today, in the first several centuries of Christianity’s existence, there was no consensus as to who Jesus was or why he had mattered. Instead, there were many different Christs. One had a twin brother and traveled to India; another consorted with dragons. One particularly terrifying Christ scorned his parents and killed those who opposed him.

Why do we know so little about these early versions of Jesus? Because, starting in the fourth century AD, the orthodox form of Christianity that had become preeminent set about systematically wiping out every other variation, denouncing their gospels as apocryphal and their followers as heretics. These unfortunate Christians lost their rights, their property, their churches—in some cases, even their lives.

Heretic unearths the different versions of Christ who existed in the minds of early Christians, and the process of evolution—and elimination—by which Jesus became the singular figure we know today. 


Catherine Nixey studied classics at Cambridge and taught the subject for several years before becoming a journalist at the Times (UK), where she still works. Her mother was a nun, her father was a monk, and she was brought up Catholic. Author of The Darkening Age, she lives in London with her husband and their two children.

Product Details ISBN: 9780358652915
ISBN-10: 035865291X
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English

“Searingly passionate…Nixey writes up a storm. Each sentence is rich, textured, evocative, felt…[A] ballista-bolt of a book.”  — New York Times Book Review on The Darkening Age

“Nixey paints with a wide brush...a fine history that is surely controversial in its view of how victims become victimizers and how professions of love turn to terror.” — Kirkus Reviews on The Darkening Age

“Nixey clearly but untendentiously summarizes phenomena that led up to the elimination of classical polytheism.” — Booklist on The Darkening Age

“[A] vivid and important new book… Nixey is a funny, lively, readable guide through this dark world of religious oppression…. The book is also an essential reminder, in the age of Brexit and Donald Trump, that intolerance, ignorance and hostility to cultural diversity are sadly nothing new.” — The New Statesman (UK) on The Darkening Age

“[An] impassioned account… Nixey acutely and thunderously reminds us that many used the Christian project as an excuse to destroy rather than to love.” — BBC History Magazine, “Books of the Year,” on The Darkening Age