Rev. Dr. John F. Baggett is a graduate of Kentucky Wesleyan College and Vanderbilt Divinity School. He holds a Masters in the Anthropology of Religion and a Ph.D. in Psychiatric Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has served United Methodist pastorates in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Chicago, and has been a frequent lecturer in Theology, Biblical Studies, and Anthropology. In mid-life he was called to a new ministry on behalf of mentally ill persons and their families. Dr. Baggett has served as the Executive Director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of North Carolina and as the Director of The North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. He retired in 2003 to devote himself to research and writing. In addition to numerous mental health and religious articles, Dr. Baggett is the author of Seeing Through the Eyes of Jesus: His Revolutionary View of Reality and His Transcendent Significance for Faith, published in 2008 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing, and Finding the Good in Grief: Recover Joy after a Life Changing Loss published by Kregel Publications April 2013.
I can't stop reading this book! It's possibly the best overall description of what I feel Jesus was/is all about. This is a must-read whether you're interested in the "Historical Jesus" or the "Jesus of Faith". Mr. Baggett packed this book with so much information, it actually justifies the rather high price. The introduction alone makes it worth reading, and the footnotes are like a separate book! His writing is studious yet very down-to-earth. I'd like to read it with my wife and save a copy for my son to read someday. I hope many people read this book - it would make the world a better place.
I enjoyed this book. It is, at once, very scholarly and very down to earth. Unlike may theological works, it is very accessible and readable. The delicious footnotes added depth and texture and increased the intrigue.
I learned a great deal about Jesus the person and how he encountered and saw things in the turn of the era cultural context. It thoroughly grounded Jesus in reality. It was possible to see him as a real person with a real life. The first half of the book gave me a way to see how Jesus saw things.
It was the second half of the book that showed me at least some of what Jesus saw. That is, perhaps, too simplistic, but it fleshed out the whole perspective and added a much deeper dimension to what it means to be a person of faith.
This book is about Jesus, but, in a real way, I found it was as much about me as it was Jesus. Jesus became a doorway - not to the world of the first century, but to the my world of the 21st century. The door opens and the reader is invited to take the step into the world of faith. I had to wear the shoes - at least try them on. It's clear that this world of faith is not some esoteric, set apart place, but is here in the very midst of our real, day to day lives. Seeing through Jesus' eyes does not show us a different reality. It shows us our own reality and invites us to act in our world as person of genuine faith.
This book has a great deal to say to people struggling with what it means to be authentic in our faith. If I were a clergyman in a local congregation, I bet I'd get a year's worth of sermons out of it. I think it ought to be used in seminaries and the retreats clergy use to keep their edge sharpened. I can see it used in adult groups in local congregations. Studying it in those contexts would deepen a lot of conversations and touch a lot of lives.
Was this review helpful to you?
This beautifully written book achieves a rare combination of inspiration and scholarship. Dr. Baggett asks the question, "Would it make a difference in our lives today if we viewed reality through the eyes of Jesus?" In a series of chapters informed by historical evidence and cultural information, he helps us to understand Jesus' view of reality by looking at the way Jesus viewed God as "Abba", and all of his neighbors as "children of Abba". The result is a book that challenges us to examine our own relationships, particularly with the social outcasts of our own time.
Was this review helpful to you?