My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book has answered so many questions I had growing up reading the Bible. Assuming the acceptance of what the gospels said Jesus did- a lot of it is now put in perspective by understanding the world he lived in. I also have a better understanding of the seeming contradictions in the epistles. It is mostly due to a theological struggle between Paul and James.
This book also explains why The Church historically wanted to interpret things and not leave it up to the masses. Things are a lot more complicated than they teach in church. The doctrine is a result of a lot of compromise.
Whether you are religious or just want to understand the history of the most important religion to define European history, I think this is a great read