Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus & the Heart of Contemporary Faith Paperback – Apr 7 2015
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All Christianity is, to some extent, idolatrous. Christian worship is a response to a worshiper's image of Jesus, and all images of Jesus fall short of his reality--in the same way that all biographies and portraits fail to depict a whole person. In Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, New Testament scholar Marcus Borg attempts to understand how popular images of Jesus connect Christians to their savior and isolate them from him. Borg writes about his own evolving ideas of who Jesus was, considers the scholarly and popular religious evolution of Jesus' public image, and investigates with special care the effects of Historical Jesus research on contemporary images of Jesus. Meeting Jesus Again is written in an affable, gracious, and unflinchingly honest voice. Borg's description of his own faith particularly exemplifies these qualities, and gives the reader a simultaneously safe and unsettling new perspective on the peasant from Galilee: "[T]he central issue of the Christian life is not believing in God or believing in the Bible," he writes. "Rather, the Christian life is about entering into a relationship with that to which the Christian tradition points, which may be spoken of as God, the risen, living Christ, or the Spirit. And a Christian is one who lives out his or her relationship to God within the framework of the Christian tradition." --Michael Joseph Gross
From Library Journal
Borg (religion and culture, Oregon State Univ.) provides an account of contemporary Jesus scholarship--told in simple language for lay readers--and of his personal struggle to find authentic, mature faith. Here, the historical pre-Easter Jesus and the post-Easter Jesus (whom other writers have referred to as the Christ of faith), or the Jesus revealed by scholarship and the Jesus of Christian tradition are brought together as Borg articulates his own struggle from doubt to faith. His struggle is grounded in contemporary scholarship, personal experience, and "an understanding of the Christian life as a relationship to the Spirit of God--a relationship that involves one in a journey of transformation." Highly recommended.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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But the criteria by which Borg judges whether or not a given teaching really is from Jesus are shaky. Does the "Gospel" of Thomas have anything of value to say about the life of Jesus? I doubt it. Why does Borg assume that only material from the Christian "tradition" before 60 A.D. can be trusted? If I were to write about the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, at a chronological distance equivalent to 93 AD, I could easily find eyewitnesses. Why should it have been so much harder for the Gospel writers in 70 AD?
Borg's chief weakness may be his habit of working alternatives into what look like false dichotomies, or trichotomies: holiness versus compassion, individual versus political virtue, "belief" versus "action" versus "becoming." (Why not all three? "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength!") Borg's method of exegesis is often to exagerrate one element in Jesus' teaching, then make that a principle by which to exclude other elements.
Borg identifies JS pronouncements with the "scholarly consensus." But many first rank scholars (Wright, Hays, Johnson, Meier, Jenkins, and others) find the JS way of working quite flawed.Read more ›
I first read the Bible cover-to-cover on my own as a youngster. This was probably not a good thing, as I mostly came away with an impression of an Angry God. And I certainly was in no position to understand at the tender age of 11 the cultural background of the world of the Hebrews or Jesus.
The trouble is that in some ways reading about the life of Christ is a bit like reading a mystery. Sure you can read the book again, but you already know whodunit the next time you go back to it, and having that knowledge changes the way you see things from then on. "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time" has clarified for me the difference between pre-Easter and post-Easter Jesus. Before this when I reread the Gospels and looked over what Jesus said or did prior to his death and resurrection, I looked at it as though He was the post-Easter Godly Jesus the entire time, that He was always God right from the get-go. Now I am looking at Him more in the sense of His humanity as it was recorded in the first 3 gospels. When I stop to think about it, I expect He was a pretty normal kid, and I am not sure that He really saw Himself as God as that point waiting around to be worshipped. Rather I do think He was very much a man constantly in touch with His Father, so I am giving more consideration to the example He set where he showed me how to live and how to be in touch with the Father all the time. (Or at least try to be.Read more ›
Borg's book is insightful. I can't say for sure whether my friends share similar sentiments, but we all agree that the book provides for great discussion. People who aren't afraid to think for themselves theologically would do well to read this book, especially within the company of insightful friends.
The popular image of Jesus is of great significance to me and remains so even after reading this book. Like Borg, I underwent a faith crisis when studying religion through an academic lens that led me to places I thought I would never go--unbelief and doubt. But as someone who considers himself a theological fence-straddler between conservative and liberal camps, I think Borg provides interpretations that both Jesus of History and Christ of Faith followers can enjoy.
For example, Borg's take on Jesus as a compassionate man who was greatly concerned about those ostracized by the purity system in first century Palestine, calls for a reexamination of his teachings about serving social outcasts and how those reflections relate to today's situation. Borg points out that many who believe in the popular image of Jesus are too concentrated on belief systems and fail to grasp his alternative wisdom and life example of compassion.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A penetrating look at who Jesus really was and what he espoused. Especially good for readers of Marcus Borg and John Spong.Published 23 months ago by Leslie Winston
Borg introduces you to a Jesus that was a compassionate, exceptionally bright and politically astute, and social activist with rapier wit. Read morePublished on May 8 2013 by Alan Strickland
Makes Jesus REAL.
Good adult reading.
I am a "roman" catholic very tired of the old stories, distress by the betrayal after Vatican... Read more
I ordered a book that was supposed to be hard cover. It arrived in soft cover. I emailed the sender but over two days there was no response.Published on Aug. 20 2009 by Dr. Rod D. Johnston
This is an amazing writer and a great spiritual presentation. Borg is a theologian and philosopher who has helped me bridge the gap between the Bible, Jesus and spirituality. Read morePublished on July 5 2006 by RPS
Finally a book that helps bridge the gap between the two worlds: Faith and history / science. Very impressive work!Published on Jan. 6 2004 by NoDumbName
I picked up this book anticipating a inspiring treatise on Christian faith. After finishing it, I am left with two indelible images. First, Mr. Read morePublished on Nov. 6 2003
When the book MEETING JESUS AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME was published in 1994, it caused quite a stir. The book was the product of Biblical scholar Marcus Borg, a member of "The Jesus... Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2003 by Timothy Kearney
Marcus Borg has been a moving force behind the "Jesus Seminar." He is in great demand as a speaker because he does such a wonderful job of writing and speaking clearly... Read morePublished on July 10 2003 by Rev. Wayne Bradley Robinson, Ph.D.