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Meeting Jesus Again For The First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith [Paperback]

Marcus J Borg
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 2 1995

Of the many recent books on the historical Jesus, none has explored what the latest biblical scholarship means for personal faith. Now, in Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Marcus Borg addresses the yearnings of those who want a fully contemporary faith that welcomes rather than oppresses our critical intelligence and openness to the best of historical scholarship. Borg shows how a rigorous examination of historical findings can lead to a new faith in Christ, one that is critical and, at the same time, sustaining.

"Believing in Jesus does not mean believing doctrines about him," Borg writes. "Rather, it means to give one's heart, one's self at its deepest level, to . . . the living Lord."

Drawing on his own journey from a naive, unquestioning belief in Christ through collegiate skepticism to a mature and contemporary Christian faith, Borg illustrates how an understanding of the historical Jesus can actually lead to a more authentic Christian life--one not rooted in creeds or dogma, but in a life of spiritual challenge, compassion, and community.

In straightforward, accessible prose, Borg looks at the major findings of modern Jesus scholarship from the perspective of faith, bringing alive the many levels of Jesus' character: spirit person, teacher of alternative wisdom, social prophet, and movement founder. He also reexamines the major stories of the Old Testament vital to an authentic understanding of Jesus, showing how an enriched understanding of these stories can uncover new truths and new pathways to faith.

For questioning believers, doubters, and reluctant unbelievers alike, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time frees our understanding of Jesus' life and message from popular misconceptions and outlines the way to a sound and contemporary faith: "For ultimately, Jesus is not simply a figure of the past, but a figure of the present. Meeting that Jesus--the living one who comes to us even now--will be like meeting Jesus again for the first time."


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From Amazon

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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful author. Feb. 26 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A penetrating look at who Jesus really was and what he espoused. Especially good for readers of Marcus Borg and John Spong.
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4.0 out of 5 stars You Won't Be Disappointed May 8 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Borg introduces you to a Jesus that was a compassionate, exceptionally bright and politically astute, and social activist with rapier wit. To top it off, he had a charisma that was totally compelling to those he encountered -- born of his inner vision of his own spiritual relationship with God. A must read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
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 and in a way that is both informative and holds your atention easily. This book comes from a set of lectures given at the Annual meeting of the NO. CA/NV Conference of the UCC. The title was given to him, but the more he lived into it, the more it appealed to him.
He has a wonderfully engaging way of speaking and writing and is unique in combining a lively spirtuality and scholarly acumen. This field has been the major focus of my own work and I am convinced that Marcus'book is the best place to start for anyone wanting to find out about the work of recent Jesus research. In the book, he describes his own personal struggles that led him to the place he is now. This lends a marvelous credibility to the book and helps the reader to identify with what Marcus is saying. I have recommended it to others over and over and the response has always been anywhere from positive to ecstatic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Come home, Dr. Borg Feb. 24 2004
Format:Paperback
Marcus Borg is the most sensible and sympathetic of the Jesus Seminar scholars I have read. I found many worthwhile insights in this book: the way he links the Gospels and Paul's teaching on grace (though Jesus and Paul also call us to radical moral purity, and Borg sometimes makes meaning slave to etymology), his discussion of meta-narratives, parables, and aphorisms, and the contrast between "conventional wisdom" and "unconventional" wisdom, for example.
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.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A 60's view of Jesus June 16 2003
Format:Paperback
This wasn't a book that I would have chosen on my own. So, why did I read it you ask? Well, I took a college course and was assigned a paper on Mr. Borg. I actually read three of Mr. Borgs' books (don't ask me how), and feel qualified to give an expert opinion of Borgs' work.
First one must consider Mr. Borgs background. He was raised in a christian home and came of age in the 60's. This would explain his interesting journey through agnosticism, atheism and finally liberalism. Since this book was about his view of Jesus I will not go into the Jesus Seminar, etc. Perhaps the most disturbing viewpoint to me was his view of Jesus as a Sage (Spirit person), like Buddha, and others. Jesus was one who had these moments in another reality or dimension and then was able to share this with others. People around Him, Jesus, could feel this and flocked to Him. I won't even go into the whole Sophia manipulations, etc. I just don't understand how someone can claim to be a Christian and yet deny the deity of Christ. If all of the Bible is not true, then how do you know which parts to believe? I guess you just operate as Mr. Borg does, pick the parts you like. Just suffice to say that I would not recommend this book to anyone, not even to do a research paper on Mr. Borg.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Meeting Jesus again for the first time Oct. 29 2011
Format:Paperback
Awesome!
Most interesting.
Makes Jesus REAL.
Good adult reading.
I am a "roman" catholic very tired of the old stories, distress by the betrayal after Vatican II, and the return to values totally separated from today's world's. As in globalisation, humanitarian aid, rights to freedom, equality,etc.
If Jesus lived today; where would he stand?
The book gives a pretty good idea
And such clarity in presenting the pre-resurrection Jesus and the post-resurrection Jesus.
Enhanced my faith and harmonized it with my intellect.
I loved the book; it brought me important enlightenment.
DM
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars product arrived but was different than purchased
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
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 more
Published on July 5 2006 by RPS
5.0 out of 5 stars I gained much from reading this book!
I am glad I read this book. I think it has helped to redirect my search for God and to help me rebuild my faith in Him, so that I move from a fearful relationship with an angry... Read more
Published on March 11 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars one of the best of it's kind!
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 DAVID LIT
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed wide left....
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 more
Published on Nov. 6 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars A personal review from a theological moderate
My friends and I like to read and discuss theological books for kicks. During our bargain hunting for "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time," one friend was verbally accosted by... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars A Catchy Title for a Pretty Good Book
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 more
Published on Oct. 17 2003 by Timothy Kearney
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
I must say, I was a little bit disappointed with this book, not that it was bad, just that it didn't quite meet my expectations... until I read the last chapter. Wow! Read more
Published on June 24 2003 by Ryan P. Morgan
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