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The Meaning Of Jesus Paperback – Aug 23 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harperone; 2nd Revised edition edition (Aug. 23 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061285544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061285547
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.6 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #209,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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How do we know about Jesus? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wesley Mullins on June 4 2004
Format: Paperback
Most people I know who consider themselves Christians follow the narrow path outlined to them in the churches of their youth. They reject the ambiguous nature of much of the Bible and believe those interpretations different from their own belong to the foolish, the wicked and the damned. If this arrogant and naive form of worship appeals to you, then you probably have no interest in a book like "The Meaning of Jesus". However, if you are interested in exposing yourself to how different people view the meaning of Jesus' life and in turn developing a deeper understanding of him for yourself, then there is no better book to begin your search.
In alternating chapters, Borg and Wright discuss the important debated issues of Christianity. They discuss such subjects as the virgin birth, the resurrection and the important question of whether Jesus actually believed he was the messiah. They must have seen early drafts of the other's sections, because they also make comments on points made by the other side. Wright is a traditionalist, or what I like to call a "John 3:16 Christian." He believes the meaning of Jesus' life is as the savior who died for the sins of the world. Borg, on the other hand, is a follower of Jesus, the man. He believes less in the elements of traditional Christianity that seem supernatural to non-believers, focusing instead on the lessons of Christ in the first three gospels (which is largely without references to Christ as the son of God).
A lesson is found in this book, a lesson that if learned by the rest of the world would make it a much better place. The two men disagree on many fundamental questions.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book with a predetermined bias in favor of Borg's point of view. Borg sees the Christian life as an opportunity to have a deep relationship with God as shown in Jesus Christ. We can use Jesus as a lens through which we see God and what it is like to live a life full of God. Borg's approach is refreshing because it is not necessary to hold a lot of beliefs about Jesus in order to lead such a life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ms Diva on Sept. 24 2003
Format: Paperback
I am not a theologian, and as such, I can't review or evaluate this book on that level. I am a Christian who was raised in the Anglican Church, and I've always been fascinated by questions of Biblical inerrancy. I approached this book as someone who clearly believes in Jesus as Son of God and Saviour, yet who is open to different ways of approaching the Bible.
Borg and Wright both make well written, clear arguments to explain their views around Christ both as a spiritual and historical figure. The authors addressed all the key questions about Jesus, and they didn't try to force the reader into accepting one point of view or the other; the book seemed to be meant to get people thinking and exploring these issues. Any book that can take such complex matters and create a book that is not dry or textbook-like should be applauded.
I thought the scholarship on both sides was sound, although both relied a bit more on their own previous works than I would have liked. A bibliography/list of works cited to go along with the notes would have been more appropriate. I thought the layout was a bit annoying - I'd have preferred a dialogue set up for each question, so that I could read the authors' differing views side by side, and it would've been easier to be clear on where they agreed and disagreed. As it was, I found myself going back and forth to see what each was saying on a particular subject.
This book may present a challenge to readers who have made up their minds about Jesus' identity either way. As someone who does have faith, I found it a good exercise to read something that asked me to set aside my beliefs, question, and be open to new possibilities/interpretations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Wright on Jan. 29 2004
Format: Paperback
...on the historical Jesus debate, this should be it.
I've used this book in two of my seminary classes so far. It's rich in good scholarship, and both of these gentlemen are well respected in the academic world, but it doesn't get bogged down in technical language, so the lay person can still understand it easily.
The idea of alternating chapters with the two scholars works perfectly, and they alternate who gets the first word and the last word on each topic, as well. I often found myself agreeing with one of the authors as I read his chapter, only to find myself agreeing even more with the other author in the very next chapter! Ultimately, I believe that neither side has the Truth completely figured out, and it will be much of this "give-and-take" that gets us closer to the heart of Christianity.
I know that many people (myself included) believe that much of the truth of Christianity hinges on the resurrection, and both Borg and Wright do superb jobs in stating their opinions and arguments on that topic. The final topic, "Jesus and the Christian Life," serves remarkably well in tying everything together, as each author presents what meaning they find in their beliefs about Jesus. No matter what we believe about Jesus, if our beliefs don't inspire us to a changed, transformed life, then they are, in the end, worthless. Both Borg and Wright exhibit changed lives as a result of their experience with Christ.
It is so beautiful how two friends with two (almost) opposite viewpoints can have such an honest, open discussion about a topic that is all too often very aggressive from both sides. Clearly, this is an issue that has important ramifications for those within and without the church, and, as such, it is crucial for both sides to begin being honest with each other.
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