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Jesus Through Pagan Eyes: Bridging Neopagan Perspectives with a Progressive Vision of Christ Paperback – June 8, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (June 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738721913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738721910
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #465,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A former clergyman in the Church of England, Reverend Mark Townsend now leads his own inclusive and ecumenical ministry that nourishes a strong appreciation for the diversity of faith beyond Christianity, and which strives to honor the divine in all people, regardless of their faith, culture, sexuality or background.

A priest of the Open Episcopal Church and member of the Progressive Christian Alliance, in addition to being a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the author has been featured on the BBC and several other news programs throughout Britain. He is the author of The Gospel of Falling Down, and Jesus Outside the Box (O Books). He lives in Hereford, England.

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Customer Reviews

Each must forge her own path through the forest for ultimately it is a personal journey.
Elizabeth M. McNally
It was like trying to put a many-piece puzzle together without knowing what the final picture would look like.
Hi, I am a Pagan and my grandmother is a very devout, strict, stuck-in-her-ways Pentecostal Christian.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Andrew on May 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
Be warned. This book is trouble. Not least because the author, Reverend Mark Townsend, has a nasty habit of being reasonable when provoked.

When Christian authors address a modern Pagan readership, they are supposed to state that we are well-meaning people in search of the Sacred. Those of a more fundamentalist stripe may go so far as to concede, amusingly, that we don't consciously engage in devil-worship. By the end of their essay, however, they will have told us that we are worshiping the Creation rather than the Creator. They will have suggested that Wicca in particular can be a gateway to other, more sinister forms of occultism.

Most of all, they will have stated clearly that Jesus is the ONLY way (John 14:6).

Thus, the author goes away content in the knowledge that they have fulfilled their `Great Commission' to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to unbelievers, and Pagans go away expressing their distaste for those who proselytise. Prejudices are reinforced, and everyone stays happy.

That is the way it is supposed to work.

Christian authors are not supposed to confess their outright attraction to earth-based spiritualities. They are certainly NOT supposed to use words like `Churchianity' to describe the shortcomings of their faith.

And it gets worse. Reverend Mark Townsend has collected essays by Pagan authors, leaders and interfaith representatives, inviting them to give their opinions of Jesus. People like Emma Restall-Orr, Maxine Sanders, Joyce Higginbotham, Janet Farrar, and Raven Grimassi.

The hide of the man!

In Townsend's words:

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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Mcclellan on May 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mark Townsend's new book, "Jesus Through Pagan Eyes" begins with a bit of a departure for this master storyteller. In Part One, Mark undertakes to introduce the reader to a Jesus seldom found in the institutional church; one bereft of the theological baggage heaped upon him by centuries of churchianity. Mark skillfully and convincingly weaves oft-forgotten wisdom from early church leaders with modern Historical Jesus scholarship and concepts from the Pagan and Druidic traditions into a beautiful tapestry of both the person of Jesus and the Christ- consciousness that he exhibited. This is a Jesus simultaneously stripped down to a beautiful soul-friend and elevated to an incarnation of love and grace that we can all aspire to emulate. Freed from the ideological shackles of the tradition-laden church is found a Jesus that we should all find. In Parts Two and Three Mark gives way to respected Pagan leaders and invites them to share their own insights and feelings about Jesus in the form of essays and interviews. Whereas Part One was a scholarly yet accessible examination of theological or Christological concepts interspersed with personal reflections; parts two and three are deeply personal and compelling portraits of a Jesus seldom found inside the institutional church. While some of these reflections will be seen as controversial, as will the whole book; the beauty found herein is undeniable. This is a truly remarkable work, as it combines both the cerebral approach and the emotional. As a lifelong Christian and a pastor to boot; I found much wisdom and beauty in this book; and was introduced to aspects of Jesus that had never been exposed to, but found myself asking "Why did I never see this before"?
Revd. Roger McClellan, Co-Founder and Moderator of The Progressive Christian Alliance
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cygnet on June 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
This seemingly exhaustive (and exhausting) tome is divided into three parts: 1) a discussion of the nature of Jesus as a tri-part being (man, man-God, Spirit); 2) a selection of stories and essays by various pagan elders; and 3) transcriptions of interviews with additional pagan elders. First let me say that I believe the Reverend Mr. Townsend has accomplished his goal of laying out before the public what various and sundry pagan elders understand about Jesus and his teachings. Along the way to compiling the book, he has also reached a junction in his own personal spiritual journey. (I do not say destination because there is no destination on the spiritual path, only the journey.)

The structure of the book is clearly delineated and followed. However, I found the rigidity of the structure somewhat daunting. I eventually found myself bogged down in various opinions with no ability left to distinguish individual voices. Ironically, this was particularly true in the third section which contained the interview transcriptions. The very repetition of the interview questions, which was necessary to obtain some form of objectivity and comparison among those interviewed, became the very thing which blurred the lines among interviewees. Maybe that is all to the good since there is no one pagan voice to whom a single opinion belongs. The blend of voices became for me a united chorus, singing a primarily harmonious tune around the man/god/teacher called Jesus.

As an individual who by definition can no longer call herself a Christian, I found resonance with those who have come full circle back to a cosmic Jesus. Having travelled the journey myself, though, I found nothing startling or new in the readings.
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