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Jesus of Nazareth Hardcover – April 6, 2010
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
• "Jesus goes from being a follower of John the Baptist to inspired exorcist to peace-loving proclaimer of the Kingdom of God to a messianic rebel forced by the authorities and Romans into a radicalized corner to fight for his developing and somewhat desperate beliefs. Rather than forcing himself to throw out major portions of the story to make his sense of Jesus fit a given thesis, Verhoeven manages to pull together all the major threads and make narrative sense of it all." --Christopher Napolitano, Playboy
• "Verhoeven has written an excellent book." --Paul Schrader, Film Comment
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Verhoeven is a rational pragmatist. He starts with the premise that Jesus was a human being who lived under the same laws of nature we are all familiar with. Accordingly, it is not within Verhoeven's world view to allow the possibility that Jesus walked on water, or raised the dead, or miraculously fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. When he encounters stories of the miraculous in the gospels, his instinct is to ask how the stories could have originated, and what historical reality might lie behind them. This line of inquiry invariably leads to speculations that cannot be proven one way or another. But in my view, Verhoeven proposes original solutions to a number of textual problems. Some of his proposals are quite viable. Others might best be described as not entirely implausible.Read more ›
Answer: Fresh insight.
Paul Verhoeven is the only non-theologian admitted to the Jesus Seminar, a group of scholars dedicated to uncovering the historical Jesus. While his book will not be recognized for the depth of research that goes into the books of more noted scholars, it's still an interesting read.
Verhoeven digs into the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist, the sin of riches, exorcisms, and much more to paint Jesus in human terms. Jesus is not an ideal for Verhoeven, but a living, breathing person, with fears and failures alongside his accomplishments. Jesus is a hunted criminal who masterfully escapes the long arm of the law...until an apostate disciple masquerading as a Zealot (not likely one of the twelve, nor even named Judas, according to Verhoeven) leads the authorities to him.
After Jesus' crucifixion, his disciples believed he returned from the dead. But if the whole of the Jesus story were wrapped up in this miracle of overcoming death, Christianity could not have survived for 2,000 years. Jesus created powerful parables and devised a new code of ethics; regardless of his false understanding that the kingdom of God was imminent, he indeed transformed the world. Verhoeven closes his book with this paradox: Jesus' mistaken view of reality led to the most significant ethical revival in the past two thousand years.
It was excellent in two aspects that I consider most important in a book like this:
Firstly, the author did an excellent job from an academic point of view - as a scientist I think this is extremely important. All his claims are carefully cited and documented while his analysis is both thorough and complete. In addition, the author clearly and unambiguously distinguishes between what is fact, what is his opinion or interpretation and what is other people's opinion or interpretations. In other words there is no chance of this work being in any way misleading (all sources are there for anyone to check).
Secondly, the book was well written from an aesthetic point of view, and in its own way, very entertaining. All I want to say is that I had absolutely no interest in the subject, yet I found the book pretty enjoyable to read.
Now all I hope is that Paul comes out of his 'retirement' as a filmmaker.
Verhoeven both follows and deviates from the general approach of the Seminar. His Jesus is also demystified. But he inserts some really unprofessional snippiness about miracles being impossible, and strips away a lot of the religious aspects of Jesus' ministry because they would've been influenced by later doctrine. Which is of course true, but Verhoeven rather throws the baby out with the bathwater: in his attempt to disentangle the historical Jesus from Christian doctrine later, he inadvertently also removes Jesus' Jewish religiosity. I find this unforgivable - it was odd and such an apparent gap in scholarship for Verhoeven to write about Jesus without writing about Judaism, the Kingdom of God as it would have been conceptualized in Jewish terms, or any messianic expectations. Better scholars who work with "Jesus the Jew" (Sanders, Levine, or Crossan, to begin with) emphasize that Jesus must be read within, rather than against, Judaism.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is based on outdated, biased scholarship that has since been soundly refuted. This IS a Mythical Jesus who would have had no significant impact on human history. Read morePublished on October 24, 2013 by Lemuel
Terrible book, it's full of baseless opinions. Don't waste your time, energy and money, use them wisely on other things.Published on October 3, 2012 by Francisco Figueroa
One of the only texts on the life of Jesus or Christianity that makes any sense to me as an intelligent person.Published on August 19, 2012 by Kevin
We perhaps will never find the truth, but goodness, this book really seems about as close as we might ever get. Read morePublished on July 18, 2012 by Daniel Mantey
A truism: "Reason itself has finally led us to see the inadequacy of reason."
It is my hope to draw you into the intellectual, imaginative biblical conversation and... Read more
I think you could fill a library full of books about alternative interpretations of the life of Jesus. Read morePublished on December 17, 2010 by Joshua D. Hamilton
I wish I would have read a review before buying this waste of paper.
I didn't know anything about 'The Jesus Seminar' and thought this book would give me a bit of insight into... Read more