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Jesus: A Very Short Introduction 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199575275
ISBN-10: 0199575274
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Balanced scholarly insight. The Furrow Where the book soars is in Bauckman's introduction to Jesus as a historical figure ... there is a very good possibility that this becomes a standard text in university courses on Jesus and Christianity Anthony Le Donne, Theology Magazine This book is a very good introduction to Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament, with an impressive amount of scholarship in small space, that sheds light on some of the texts and stories which are often read with little appreciation of their contextual richness. Alan Sage, Literature and Theology Bauckman offers a fresh and significantly new methodological angle on the life, ministry and portrayals of Jesus in the four canonical Gospels. ... Chapter by chapter Bauckman's methodological lens sheds new light on a variety of themes and topics in the Gospels. ... I find it difficult to come up with substantial criticism of this book. Frederik Mulder, Churchman

About the Author


Richard Bauckham is Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of St Andrews, and a Senior Scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199575274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199575275
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 4.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This very short book (just over 100 pages) contains all the essential elements: Jesus' background, his innovative teachings (in particular the notions of the "Kingdom of God", and God as "Abba/Father"), his own "Christology", and the consequence of his "Resurrection". It kind of rejetcs form criticism. Its perspective is traditional (e.g. quoting Papias of Hierapolis [p.15]). It has a reasonably comprehensive bibliography for readers to consult and dig further. Proferssor Bauckham's prose is engaging and never bores.
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This is the best short explanation of what Jesus did and what his intentions were that I have read. It would suffice as an excellent intro to Jesus for anyone, either Christians who have some questions that have not been answered or for a person outside Christianity who wants to get at the heart of the faith. The author has accomplished in a short book what many have not done in much longer books.
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Inspired writing, superlative editing, and brilliantly executed book design and manufacture makes this slim little book an all-around delight. Conveys more than academic tomes 10 times the length. Fits as easily in your pocket as it reads. Bauckman is never afraid to explore his ideas in depth, even some of his more exotic theories, but in this case, freed from the format of footnoted academia, RB proves he can write a popularly toned book for the thinking Christian. An interesting ragged right page format and a satin-smooth cover with fold in flaps makes this book a refreshing visual and sensual delight as well. No Kindle ever felt so good in your hands or on your eyes. Most importantly, Bauckman's depth of knowledge opens doors of understanding of the big picture, at the center of which you will find Jesus the Christ, in super sharp focus. Two thumbs up.
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Bauckham's book on the historical Jesus does not make many assertions which would be considered controversial which means it is actually a breath of fresh air in Jesus scholarship. What he does do is start with a very different assumption than much of the historical Jesus scholarship of the past century: the Gospels can be considered reliable eyewitness testimony into the life of the historical Jesus. The phrasing of that last statement is very important as Bauckham does not view the Gospels as history but as ancient biography (please read his "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony" for further development of his argument for this method of reading.)

What I very much appreciated was Bauckham's ability to trust the biblical witness and show how the teachings of that witness would have been received in the context in which spoken. This is a bit different from other scholars like Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan who relish the historical situation but have a massive distrust of the Gospel accounts. My theological training was in the latter, and it always rubbed me the wrong way since one could subject the Gospels to a subjective criteria to formulate one's own picture of Jesus--a picture that was not necessarily in accord with the ancient texts.

Bauckham methodology allows the reader to understand the cultural dynamics AND be true to the witness of the Gospels. His short exegesis of the Parable of the Good Samaritan was particularly good. Further, Bauckham does a nice job of showing how Jesus embodied both God's radical love accompanied with judgement for those who rejected that love--a nice antidote to the "God is love and there should be no judgement" strain of Christianity pervading some Christian circles.
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This is an exceptional book on the life of Jesus from a giant in the field of New Testament studies (amongst other disciplines). It is easily accessible for the Jesus novice but without over-simplification. It demands more of the reader than John Dickson's similar popular level books about Jesus but it is just as winsome and Bauckham's looming academic stature makes this little book even more compelling. Bauckham's portrayal of Jesus is bold and fresh and (at points) controversial but his positions are always grounded in the evidence. Motivated readers would do well to follow up this book by reading others by the same author.
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Bauckham is a well-regarded evangelical scholar with a wide readership, and this excellent book is evidence of why. In it he manages to present faith in Christ in simple terms that even those who are not initiated into the jargon of evangelical-speak can understand - and those who are can find refreshing. I would put in a par with C.S. Lewis` Mere Christianity or John Stott`s Basic Christianity, with none of the apologetical polemics of either.
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Clear, and to the point. Helps us understand our relationship with Jesus. I highly recommend this book for all to read.
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A great introduction to the person of Jesus not only as who the Gospels describe what He did, but why He did. Dr. Bauckham writes a concise, not too terribly dense and yet very understandable introduction that regardless of your beliefs or background will cause one to take pause and really think this topic through. Cudos to Oxford Press on this series of "A Very Short Introduction"!
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