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The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity? John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ by Agron BelicaSalem-News.com
What you will read may change you forever... published online for free download.
(BOSTON) - Perhaps one of the most important books written about religion in the modern age, The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity? John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ by Agron Belica explores what came to be known as "The Crowned Theory." It makes too much sense to dismiss easily. It is important to understand that Muslims believe Jesus lived and performed miracles. He is honored as a prophet, but Islam rejects his divinity and the belief that he is the son of God. Rather, Muslims believe that he is a Prophet of God as Muhammad is a Prophet. In Islam, Jesus is a somewhat mystical figure and is the subject of a considerable amount of Islamic literature. His death on the cross, the centerpiece of Christianity, is denied by the Quran. This book is a fresh examination of the crucifixion with surprising results.
John the Baptist on the cross instead of Jesus? Before you dismiss such a bizarre theory, you might want to read “The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity?” by Agron Belica. Having re-examined the relevant extant documents about perhaps the strangest figure in the New Testament, he presents his interesting theories, supported by sound scholarship and copious annotation, that challenge the traditional view of John as a minor character in the Messianic drama. Belica’s ideas have already attracted considerable attention. In order to make the results of his studies available to a wider audience, he has published his book for free download on the Internet. Let the reader decide for himself the merit of his controversial arguments. -Tim King
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Interview with Tim King
About Salem-News.Com's Boston Bureau Chief:
Of Albanian descent, first-generation American Agron Belica is largely self-educated. He accepted the responsibilities of life after his undisciplined teen years, spent mostly on the street with reckless gangbangers and brushes with the law. He is now married and the couple now have three children, all boys. His about-face was total and he began to study inspirational works and comparative religion.
He attended classes on Islam in New Jersey focusing on religious tenets, doctrinal differences, and the claims and beliefs of various Muslim sects. He also studied the proper recitation of the Quran and attained such proficiency in it that he was selected to perform the call to prayer, a great honor in a mosque, second only to leading the formal prayers.
Belica had a special interest in the history of the Prophet Yahya—John the Baptist. In 2008, this interest resulted in the issuance of his first essay on the neglected prophet: The Revival of the Prophet Yahya, a small article presenting an unorthodox view of Yahya/John. His revolutionary ideas attracted critics, vilifiers, and supporters. Among the latter, was the enterprising reporter, and award winning journalist, Tim King of Salem-News.com, who interviewed Belica. With the publication of that interview, Belica’s ideas went global.
The following year, he released a more thorough exposition of various aspects of the Yahya question: The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity? (harvardbookstore.
Belica’s work on some key words in the Quran has been referenced in Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar’s The Concordance of the Sublime Quran, a supplemental study resulting from translation of the Quran, The Sublime Quran, the first such translation by an American Muslim woman. Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub of the Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut, has declared that the book “is an engaging analysis of the life and mission of the two kindred religious personages, John the Baptist (Yahya) and Jesus (‘Isa)… the book will add much to the discussion of an epoch-making event had has shaped world history. The book is informative and entertaining. It is certainly worth reading.”
In her review of The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity?, former Harvard University Professor of English Literature Dr. Harte Wiener wrote: “This book is slim, but both erudite and yet easy to follow, in its step by step progression through the many scriptures, seemingly so familiar is Agron Belica with every passage, the apt ones come easily to mind for him, and strike an immediate chord in us, no matter how familiar or unfamiliar we are with the text and story. And yet, this book is no recipe for persuasion. It is much more sophisticated than that. Written in a devout and true Muslim spirit, it is also—as mentioned at the beginning of this review—an inquiry and a wholly new contribution to that body of scriptural scholarship. Agron Belica advances a theory which sheds an entirely novel light on the views that are commonplace today, and, through an examination of linguistics, passages, intent, and meaning, causes us to re-examine, in an exciting, clue-ridden way, what we have assumed to be true about the three major religions for centuries, concentrating on his own Muslim faith.” Not resting on his laurels, after making a name for himself with this achievement in the field of serious comparative religion, he surprised and perhaps shocked his friends and associates by branching off into a totally different and seemingly-unrelated area: hip-hop music. He released his first songs in mid-2010 and since then, he has racked up an impressive number of hits for a newcomer. He quickly demonstrated that the popular medium can be used constructively as well as to entertain.
With his early background, it was an easy progression to writing and performing his own songs about his life experiences. The idea was to find music that was compatible with his style of singing and reflective lyrics. Belica performs and records his music at Double D Recording Studio in Franklin, MA. Owner, engineer, and an active musician himself, Patrick Dreier has produced and co-produced many albums out of Double D Recording Studio. He has become somewhat of a mentor for Belica who was new to music as a business, and for this Belica is eternally grateful.
Drier co-produced Belica’s first album Unexpected. It was released under the Out of the Blue Records label, Boston, MA. In this album, he addressed several social issues. Some of the early song titles reflect those interests, such as: Forgiveness, End of the Road, Street-Life, and Cost to be the Boss. Soon after the release of Unexpected, he was signed by a second label, Black Tree Music Productions, out of the West Coast. Agron began working on a new album, Newsic, that was commissioned by award-winning journalist and news reporter Tim King of Salem-News.com. In it, Belica’s humanitarian themes are evident: Depression, Hardship, medical marijuana in Cannabis, his research about the Prophet Yahya/John the Baptist in Sermon From the Throne, History dedicated to the peace activist Ken O’Keefe, and his last piece about the personal tragedy of a Jewish child in Brooklyn Boy.
Tim King says: “Every time Agron releases a new song, it blows me away. It is the new style, Newsic, and it brings current events into the popular culture better than almost any medium could. Once you listen to this you will either understand, or more completely understand the concept. This is not a time on earth to sing songs that fail to account for the reality of our situation. Newsic allows a solid interpretation of tragedy in ways that chill the listener to the bone. Agron's songs about Vittorio Arrigoni, the murdered activist who also was ripped away from humanity at large, the Tamil genocide in Sri Lanka, the plight of the Palestinians—they are a source of inspiration for so many of us, from the West Coast of the U.S. to Gaza and every point in between.”
Although the name Agron was borne by the famous King Agron of Illyria (now Albania), possibly meaning “dawn” in Albanian, Agron is very proud to point out that the name “Agron” could also be of Hebrew origin, dating back to the first High Priest Aaron, the brother of Moses. He refers to this interpretation of his name in Sermon From the Throne, one of the seven tracks of his forthcomingNewsic album.
A further indication of the breadth of Belica’s worldview and his passion for unity and peace is the names given to his sons. The eldest is Arabic: Jamal, meaning handsomeness, beauty. His second son from the Hebrew is named for the beloved child of Jacob and brother of Joseph, Benjamin. His third is named for the ancient Macedonian conqueror, Alexander the Great, whose quest was for a united world. Sadly, Agron comments, “We are still a long way from accomplishing that goal, but we have to begin somewhere. Why not with the naming of our own Children?” He hopes that in some small way his work, both in writing and in music will aid in achieving that goal.
His friend Dr. Jay R. Crook, the author of a number of books about comparative religion (The Bible: An Islamic Perspective series) and the translator of several Persian classics, edited and annotated Belica’s The Crucifixion: Mistaken Identity? About Belica, he said, “It was while working with him on that book that I got to know Agron quite well. Not only are his ideas original, but also he is adept at presenting them to the public. I had expected him to look for some other writing project after that one was accomplished, but I must confess he surprised me when he turned instead to singing. When his song was recorded, I was impressed, not just by the professionalism of the production, but by the lyrics he wrote himself from his own life experience as well. Just as his ideas about John the Baptist were original, so was the content of his song. Then, he has astonished me by putting together one song after another, each one different, but all possessing a unity of presentation and depth. That he could continue to meet or excel that standard set by his first song is nothing short of amazing.”
Moreover, the pro-Palestinian activist and award-winning musician, Gilad Atzmon, has said about Agron’s music: “If beauty is the capacity to introduce a change, Agron Belica is the true meaning of the culture of resistance. Through the beat, the lyrics, and the fat bass you can hear the sound of hope, but you can also envisage the prospect of a better future.”
We are hoping to hear more from this remarkable and talented author, singer, and songwriter, God-willing.
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