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Jesus: A New Vision: Spirit, Culture, and the Life of Discipleship Paperback – May 10, 1991

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Editorial Reviews


"Borg pours a lifetime of scholarship into this provocative overview of Jesus’s life." -- Detriot Free Press

"Jesus: A New Vision not only helps us recover how Jesus appeared to his contemporariesas a God-intoxicated manbut also helps us gain a fresh perspective on understanding Jesus' significance for our times." -- Stanley Hauerwas, Duke University, author of Against the Nations

"A scholar who is alive in wonder and belief, Borg accomplishes the hardest task of all: he looks at the obvious and helps us to see it as if for the first time. " -- Eugene H. Peterson, author of A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Working the Angles, and Reversed Thunder

"Borg's new book distills a wealth of scholarship into a readily accessible form, and demonstrates that the study of the historical Jesus is still highly relevant to the contemporary church and world. He makes the bold attempt to integrate serious study of the historical Jesus with the study of religion in general. The result is an exciting treatment that continually jolts the reader into seeing well-known themes in fresh, sometimes startling light. Borg has issued an important challenge both to mainline scholarship and popular piety." -- N. Thomas Wright, Worcester College, Oxford University

"Is it possible in our secular age to restore Jesus to the decisive place that Christians for 2,000 years have accorded him? In Jesus: A New Vision, Marcus Borg does it. Without bypassing New Testament scholarship at any point, this breakthrough book restores to Jesus the Spiritin the full-blooded, ontological sense of that wordthat scholarship has so largely drained him of. Point by point Borg shows how Jesus' empowering relation with God issued in a social program that is as relevant to today's world as to the one in which he lived. This is the book about Jesus I have been waiting for my entire career." -- Huston Smith, Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus, Syracuse University, author of The Religions of Man and Forgotten Truth

About the Author

Marcus J. Borg is Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University and author of many books, including Jesus: A New Vision and Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time.

N. T. Wright is Canon of Westminster Cathedral, London, and visiting professor at Harvard Divinity School. His many works include The Original Jesus and Jesus and the Victory of God.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (May 10, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060608145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060608149
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #977,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Marcus J. Borg is professor emeritus in the philosophy department at Oregon State University, where he held the Hundere Chair in Religion and Culture, and author of the New York Times bestselling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, The Heart of Christianity, The Last Week, and Jesus. He was an active member of the Jesus Seminar when it focused on the historical Jesus and he has been chair of the historical Jesus section of the Society of Biblical Literature.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By on May 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
Great, readable, accessible book. Highly recommended for anyone with any curiosity about what is know historically about the life of Jesus. Borg writes about Jesus AND about Christ, carefully pointing out that actually believing or not believing in (for example) the bodily resurrection need not define one's Christianity. Reading Borg's interpretation of Jesus' teachings (which I find highly credible), it becomes quite clear why there is such a rift between "liberal" and "conservative" Christians (call them what you will).
What if Jesus didn't declare himself THE Son of God, but more A Son of God, meaning that through "imitating" Christ we too can becomes Sons of God? Borg discusses the context in which the gospels were written, gives possible explanations for their inconsistencies, and even discusses other texts (e.g. the Gospel of Thomas), which were as legitamate as M, M, L, or J, but didn't make it into the New Testament because their message didn't fit perfectly the Word the early Christian Church was attemtping to put forth.
A heck of a lot of information packed into 200 pages. Will likely make you thirst for further reading on the subject. Almost a "Jesus Primer" if you will.
Borg's Jesus is not one who is no longer relevant today, but instead one who is ESPECIALLY relevant today, if we decide to wade through the dogma and find out for ourselves how he lived, what he taught, and why he is still alive in so many to this day.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Adams on December 24, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To put these comments in perspective, "Jesus, A New Vision" (published originally in 1987), is the third book by Dr. Borg that I have read; thus, I'm clearly a fan.
The first Borg book I read was "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time," originally published in 1994 -- a book that covers almost the identical terrain as "Jesus, A New Vision."
It's important to realize, if you haven't read Borg before, that his books are based on mainstream biblical scholarship that is taught in seminaries of mainstream churches. He is not a radical, far-out religious liberal trying to undermine contemporary and/or traditional Christian theology.
To provide some idea of Borg's scholarship. This book's "Introduction - Clearing the Ground: Two Images of Jesus" extends a little over sixteen pages, the "Introduction's" Annotated End Notes (Footnotes) covers five pages, and should be carefully studied by those who may be particularly upset by some of the author's ideas.
The book is divided into two parts. Part One, Chapters 2-4, discuss Jesus and the Spirit, or Jesus and God. Part Two, Chapters 5-10, discussing Jesus and Culture; with the focus on the culture of the first century. Chapter 10, the author's conclusion is entitled, "The New Vision of Jesus: His Significance for Our Time." Borg's observations and conclusions are thoroughly documented. It seems difficult to imagine anyone quarreling with his conclusions.
I'm somewhat shocked that until learning about Borg in a newspaper article (last fall) announcing a local speaking engagement by Dr. Borg, which I attended, I had never heard of him. Again please note; this book was published in 1987, fourteen years ago.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Peter Kenney on February 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
One of the more interesting chapters in this book attempts to describe the social world of Jesus. Borg theorizes that Jesus was deeply involved with the sociopolitical life of His own people as the founder of a revitalization movement. The Jesus movement is depicted as seeking to transform Jewish society by creating an alternative community based on inclusiveness, acceptance, love and peace. The Jewish social world in contrast is dominated by the politics of holiness which emphasizes separation as typified by clean and unclean, purity and defilement, sacred and profane, Jew and Gentile, righteous and sinner. Further complicating the situation is the Roman annexation of Palestine in 63 B.C. which creates an onerous system of double taxation with disastrous consequences for the agrarian society into which Jesus is born. The Jesus movement has competition from other Jewish renewal movements in Palestine such as the Essenes, Pharisees and Zealots. Borg manages to explain this complicated web using a very readable style. Overall I recommend the book highly as long as you do not insist on the inerrancy of the Bible. Otherwise you will definitely find it unsettling.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John Rice on August 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Marcus Borg explores the spirit, culture and the life of the early Christian community. He writes that Jesus came to proclaim the kingdom of compassion as contrasted to the kingdom of holiness. His aphorisms, parables and actions as seen in the New Testament underscore this proclamation.
Borg's treatment of culture is one of the main features of this book. He explains cultures in transition, in conflict with each other. He sees Jesus as a prophet, sage and miracle worker, but most importantly as a leader of a reform movement with Judaism. Borg's Jesus reflects on the culture of holiness and sees how it creates unconscionable burdens for people. The son of God proclaims that his father does not demand holiness, but compassion. And in an important way compassion is more difficult than holiness, as holiness tends to be juridical. Compassion challenges people and their societies more fundamentally.
Part 1 of the book concerns the life of the Spirit as seen in the life of Jesus. Part 2 deals with Jesus and his culture. In this section Bork treats of the various ways Jesus is seen: as sage, prophet, reform movement leader. As he writes Borg tens to be quantitative. He breaks things down into compartments in order for the reader to understand a concept by its parts. It is easy to underline statements in this book.
While Bork does not seem to present new material, he utilizes research and explains it in ways that do not have the constant citing that other scholars apply. There are notes from each chapter, with annotations that explain more fully. Borg's style makes an easier read.
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