Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith

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9780060609177: Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith

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.

Drawing on his own journey from a naïve, 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 creed 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's 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.

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Review:

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 the Inside Flap:

"It is impossible to read this beautifully written book and remain unenlightened by the results of Jesus research, or untouched by the power of Jesus' way." (Elizabeth A. Johnson, author of She Who Is)

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, on 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 nave, 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."

"A book of rare excellence."--L. William Countryman, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific

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