This book claims to be "controversial". The author still believes that the James ossuary is genuine, so I suppose that could be considered controversial. I didn't find much else shocking. He talks about the Talpiot tomb, a.k.a., the so-called Jesus family tomb, containing the burials of a "Jesus son of Joseph", a couple of women named Mary, a Matthew (Matya), and a "Jude son of Jesus". But he himself concludes that there is no certain link between Gospel figures.
The author takes seriously the legend of Jesus being a son of a Pantera (or Jacob-Pantera). He provides a nice picture of the tombstone of a Roman soldier named Pantera found in Germany, but this is not new material. It has been concluded here that Pantera was an epithet of Herod the Great and that he was the ancestor of both Jesus, Joseph, and Mary.
There is a good discussion of the two genealogies of Jesus, but again nothing I would consider revolutionary. He notes that there are five ancestors with names that are variants of Matthew/Matthias. This should suggest to us a Hasmonean ancestry for Joseph (adoptive father of Jesus), which of course he had through his Hasmonean grandmother Mariamne.
There is mention of the theme of divine births in myth. Big deal. But I suppose this is considered a controversial subject for some academics! There is a discussion of the multiple Mary's in the Gospels and the suggestion that they might be redundant. The author must be unaware of Robert Eisenman's study on the subject or chooses to pretend it doesn't exist.
All in all, there is nothing in this book for us to get excited about.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.