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Jesus of Nazareth Paperback – May 5, 1995

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (May 5, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080062887X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800628871
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #816,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dr. James Gardner VINE VOICE on May 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
Bornkamm's book was originally published in 1956. As such it has to be considered within its historical context, and Bornkamm suffers from not being able to take advantage of the enormous work in biblical scholarship since that time as well as the release of the Qumran documents. That being said, this is a well written and thought provoking book. It covers much of the same ground as other "Life of Jesus" books, although Bornkamm is neither sysmetic nor comprehensive in his coverage. The most appealing sections of the book are his analyses of the Kingdom of Heaven, the parables, and his approach to the crucifixion and messianic questions. Bornkamm tends to raise issues and avoids offering conclusions. Some readers will find that attractive.

An introductory student of the life of the historical Jesus may find this book valuable. More advanced students should probably look elsewhere.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on August 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
Günther Bornkamm (1905-1990) was a German New Testament scholar. He was a student of Rudolf Bultmann, as well as other famous theologians. Bultmann was famous (or infamous, depending on one's point of view) for his proposal to "demythologize" the New Testament; that is, remove the legendary accretions to the story of Jesus added by the early Church. Bultmann said that "I do indeed think we can know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of Jesus."

However, in 1956 Bornkamm wrote this influential book, which begins by stating, "No one is any longer in a position to write a life of Jesus," not least because the gospel writers display "an incontestable loyalty and adherence to the word of Jesus, and at the same time an astonishing degree of freedom as to the original wording." Nevertheless, Bornkamm maintained that there was a layer of historical recollection that underlay the gospel accounts, which "do speak of history as occurrence and event."

Bornkamm believed that there were certain events in the life of Jesus that were incontestably historical; for example, "The fact that Jesus let himself be baptised by John belongs to the data of his life which cannot be doubted." Also, that "Jesus had to reckon with the possibility of his own violent end, we have no reason to doubt." He is even willing to credit some historical truth to the gospel stories about Jesus' death, since "nothing would be more wrong than to deny that there is any historical truth in the story in the gospels about Jesus' suffering and death, simply because the church's faith was specially concerned with this piece of tradition.
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Format: Paperback
Gunther Bornkamm's interpretations of the teachings of Jesus illustrate well
the call of the Gospels for trust,love,and dependence on grace,but at the same
time keeps readers aware of the inevitable encroachment of post-Easter
Bornkamm resolves(p.135)for example,the apparent tension between the
admonition against verbosity in prayer(Matt 6:7)and the inculcation to pray
incessantly(Luke 18:7),the latter of which finds support in both the Old
Testament(Isa 62:6-7)and in Paul(Rom 12:12),by attributing both to Jesus'
emphasis on the need for "unswerving trust".And indeed the New Testament
indicates that Christian prayers are heard because of pious fear(Heb 5:7)
rather than "many words".
In the famous dominical command to:"Render unto Caesar that which is
of Caesar,and render unto God that which is of God"(Mark 12:17),Bornkamm
invokes(p.123/n207)an interpretation which appears to go back to the second
century Christian father Tertullian:Caesar's image is on his coins,so give
Caesar his coins;but you are made in God's image(Gen 1:27),so give yourself
to God.
This interpretation makes good sense in light of the warnings given by
Mark's Jesus about how hard it is for those who have money to enter the
Kingdom of God(10:23),and on the impossibility of serving both God and
wealth(Matt 6:24):(Luke 16:13),even if by the middle of the second century
the church was using Mark 12:17 and it's parallels to encourage obedience
to the State(Justin Martyr "Apology" 1.17).
But Bornkamm's Jesus(p.121-2)sees behind the people's complaints about
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