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A Credible Jesus: Fragments of a Vision Paperback – March 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 185 pages
  • Publisher: Polebridge Press; First Edition edition (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0944344887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0944344880
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


For readers who attend to the teachings of Jesus, this assembly of short pithy sayings will create a deep impression. Funk has done us a fine service. --Currents of Theology and Mission

Funk presents a rich conceptual framework for the fragments of aphorism, parable, and dialogue that represent the historical Jesus. --John Mark Ministries

Funk's essays are brief and plain. It is that which makes them easy to grasp and tantalisingly blurry. A quick read through the book's contents will prove interesting. But reflecting on the substance of the historical Jesus he sketches will prove much more rewarding. --Radical Faith

About the Author

Robert W. Funk is founder of The Jesus Seminar and Director of the Westar Institute, a nonprofit advocate for religious literacy. A Guggenheim Fellow, Senior Fulbright Scholar, and former chair of the Graduate Department of Religion at Vanderbilt University, he is the author of "Honest to Jesus" (1996) and co-author of the bestselling "The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus" (1993).

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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By R. BULL on April 3, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Funk wrote a gem of a book that attempts to tease out the ideas and approaches of Jesus, the man, seperate from the meditations and the symbolic language of biblical writers trying to convey the significance of the risen Christ. The results are thoughtful and, no doubt, controversial. He covers a lot of ground in a very few pages. I believe he also gives us a sense of what Jesus may have been like. For an attempt at de-mythological description, I find it amazingly spiritual. If you find value in trying to put a human face on the man who became a religious icon (as I do) I recomend this book highly.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Conny Svensson on January 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
After the "Five gospels ..." Robert D Funk et al tried to take the focus from what did really Jesus said as when he was referred to or just quoted etc to focus on what does his words REALLY tells us about life, future and present state of mind.

Every chapter is preceded by quotes of Jesus' red dotted words from the "Five gospels" and then comes the reflection of Jesus Seminar on these quotes. In their very handy introduction, the reader is informed about the pros and cons of the book: it tries to capture a glimpse of Jesus' message thru the layers of Christian tradition, Judean-Roman historical context, other forerunners (wise teachers before Jesus) but foremost thru our time and our understanding of Jesus.

Our understanding is unique of things past. The most conservative Christians feel this burn in the bosom when they read Jesus' word and life story according to the gospels, I as a liberal Christian, feel the same burning in sharing the bread and wine in the sign and token of unity, love and humbleness. We have people of the Jewish religion having all sorts of perspectives on Jesus - we have Muslims, worshipping him as the beloved prophet of God, but we have also atheists, trying to contact him in his humanness. Somewhere in between we all are lost in the web of the stories around Jesus - his birth, family status, apostles, did he have a wife or not, did he really die or fainted, did he walked on water ...

Thru this web we have a new prism, a new reflection where we can try to listen to the voice - how faint it is - of Jesus when scholars best can catch it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert N. Sanders on May 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
In some of his writings Robert W. Funk suggests that we shift our focus from an obsession with Jesus to the subject to which he has been pointing all these years. That observation struck me with such power that I have been trying to do that. And this book is one that definitely seeks to accomplish that. Robert W. Funk, founder of Westar Institute as well as the Jesus Seminar but now deceased, describes the vision of Jesus that is found in bits and pieces, embedded in his parables, aphorisms and dialogues, and assembles these fragments to give us a picture of Jesus.

You see, one of the most destructive religious teachings is rooted in a particular notion of faith or belief. Faith, to some, means giving assent to the standard doctrines of one's religious tradition. History is crammed full of the excesses of this view. Even in communions where faith, historically, has been perceived relationally, there is a substantial clamor for "believing the Bible" rather than relating to a person. According to Funk, when faith is defined in this fashion it is regarded as "a supernatural virtue that enables one to believe that God has revealed the divine will through Christ and the church." This is an utter distortion because "faith, understood as trust, involves seeing the world and other people for what they are when viewed through God's eyes." Thus, it is an avenue to the deepest dimensions of reality and to God.

I emphasize what Funk says about faith in this book as a way of "reviewing" it. It is about the fragments that Jesus Seminar fellows have assembled in the database of sayings that comprise the vision of Jesus described in this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 25, 2013
Format: Paperback
Robert W. Funk (1926-2005), was co-founder of the Jesus Seminar, and author/editor of other books such as Honest to Jesus: Jesus for a New Millennium, The Five Gospels - What Did Jesus Really Say? The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do?, etc.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 2002 book, "The body of this book consists of seventeen short essays based on aphorisms, parables, dialogues, and deeds. Each cameo is a fragment of Jesus' vision. Together they project the contours of the whole. We cannot, of course, fill in all the detail, but we can catch sight of the historical figure here and there, now and then, in these tiny windows that open onto his words and work." (Pg. 2)

He suggests, "We can think of Jesus as the first standup Jewish comic; he can properly be described as a comic savant---a sage who embeds wisdom in humor; a humorist who shuns practical advice. 'If someone sues you for your coat, give him the shirt off your back to go with it.' That is not practical advice: to follow it is to go naked. Comic wisdom refuses to be explicit." (Pg. 15) He later adds, "One reason many of us in the Seminar believe Jesus could not have been an apocalyptic prophet who expected the world to end momentarily is his impulse to celebrate." (Pg. 38)

He contends, "For Jesus, God's realm contrasts with the Davidic notion of kingdom and those contrasting features are expressed in a variety of aphorisms.
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