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The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning Paperback – April 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury T&T Clark; 1 edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563382288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563382284
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,449,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

One thing seems to be missing from much of the written output of recent historical Jesus scholarship. Patterson (New Testament, Eden Theological Seminary) proposes to answer the question "So what?" by moving from the academy to the church, from scholarship to meaning. However, what he does mostly is present "a summary of scholarship ground out over several years by others," a large part of it the findings of the Jesus Seminar, of which he is a member. Patterson repeats what has been said many times before: first, that the canonical Gospels are not historically accurate or trustworthy, and second, that the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels is in reality the Jesus the young, growing, and struggling church of the second half of the first century needed to hear about. Unfortunately, on the issue of whether the Gospels are in any sense biographies, he ignores the work of Richard Burridge (What Are the Gospels?, Cambridge Univ., 1995). Left with a tendentious source of data, Patterson's reconstructions of the sayings and deeds of Jesus are based upon "likelihood" and "possibility." This work is a readable synthesis of liberal historical Jesus research but not the answer to "So what?"?Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"When Jesus was born, Augustus was Son of God. When Jesus was executed, Tiberius was Son of God. And the Kingdom of their God bestrode the Mediterranean like a colossus. But Jesus proclaimed the different Kingdom of a different God, and Christians proclaimed him as the different Son of that different God. Stephen Patterson's powerful book brilliantly explores that difference, that question of divine character, that question about The God of Jesus. Its strong, serene, and irenic tone compels us to recall the time when "Jesus Is Lord" was a statement of high treason. If it is such no longer, it asks forcibly, what exactly has changed?" —John Dominic Crossan (John Dominic Crossan)

"This work should not be consigned to the theologians exclusively. Persons knowledgeable of the Holy Scriptures should give careful consideration to this work as a means of understanding the Historical Jesus and the Christ of History. Adult classes would do well to select this as a text for special weekly study beyond the Sunday School lesson. A truly valuable work!" —Raymond B. Knudsen, Editor, The Counselor, June 7, 1998 (Raymond B. Knudsen Professional Counselor)

"Patterson's liberal theological stance and the minimalist historical results of the Jesus Seminar are coordinated with grace and wisdom in this book." — Edgar V. McKnight, Furman University, SC (Interpretation, Jan 99) (Edgar V. McKnight, Furman University, SC Interpretation)

"This is an excellent book for anyone who wants to see the relevance of current Jesus research for theology. The running commentary on the Jesus Seminar alone is work the book's price." —Fred W. Burnett, Anderson University, reviewing for Religious Studies Review, October 1999 (Fred W. Burnett Religious Studies Review)

"In this book, Steve Patterson brings together the two worlds in which he lives: the academy and the church. With great clarity and informative content, he combines the insights of contemporary Jesus scholarship with the perspective of a seminary professor committed to the life of the church." — Marcus J. Borg (Marcus J. Borg)

"Very well written in a style that is clear and accessible to non-professional readers."—Thomas E. Hosinski, Encounter. (Thomas E. Hosinski)

"When Jesus was born, Augustus was Son of God. When Jesus was executed, Tiberius was Son of God. And the Kingdom of their God bestrode the Mediterranean like a colossus. But Jesus proclaimed the different Kingdom of a different God, and Christians proclaimed him as the different Son of that different God. Stephen Patterson's powerful book brilliantly explores that difference, that question of divine character, that question about The God of Jesus. Its strong, serene, and irenic tone compels us to recall the time when "Jesus Is Lord" was a statement of high treason. If it is such no longer, it asks forcibly, what exactly has changed?" —John Dominic Crossan (Sanford Lakoff)

"This work should not be consigned to the theologians exclusively. Persons knowledgeable of the Holy Scriptures should give careful consideration to this work as a means of understanding the Historical Jesus and the Christ of History. Adult classes would do well to select this as a text for special weekly study beyond the Sunday School lesson. A truly valuable work!" —Raymond B. Knudsen, Editor, The Counselor, June 7, 1998 (Sanford Lakoff Professional Counselor)

"Patterson's liberal theological stance and the minimalist historical results of the Jesus Seminar are coordinated with grace and wisdom in this book." — Edgar V. McKnight, Furman University, SC (Interpretation, Jan 99) (Sanford Lakoff Interpretation)

"This is an excellent book for anyone who wants to see the relevance of current Jesus research for theology. The running commentary on the Jesus Seminar alone is work the book's price." —Fred W. Burnett, Anderson University, reviewing for Religious Studies Review, October 1999 (Sanford Lakoff Religious Studies Review)

"In this book, Steve Patterson brings together the two worlds in which he lives: the academy and the church. With great clarity and informative content, he combines the insights of contemporary Jesus scholarship with the perspective of a seminary professor committed to the life of the church." — Marcus J. Borg (Sanford Lakoff)

"Very well written in a style that is clear and accessible to non-professional readers."—Thomas E. Hosinski, Encounter. (Sanford Lakoff)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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It's a book that I'd recommend without hesitation.
meadowreader
And as an added bonus, there were parts of it that actually made me laugh out loud!
Steve Greif
I had professor Patterson as an instructor at Eden Seminary in St. Louis, MO.
Bill Utke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book enriches and expands my appreciation for the work of the Jesus Seminar. The Seminar has now completed its 15-year historical research project and published their findings-a current scholarly consensus on the "more likely" authentic words and deeds of Jesus. From this "database" individual scholars continue to reconstruct a variety of creative and compelling sketches of their glimpses of the "historical" Jesus. But what does all of this have to do with the way we understand ourselves, God, and the meaning of human existence? History is not theology. And what do either have to do with our actual lives here and now? Stephen Patterson, a member of the Seminar and Associate Professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary, explores the implications of historical Jesus research both for theology and for our life and faith. In the process, and in one of the book's major contributions, he also proposes a method for how history and theology can be related without one masquerading as the other. Patterson describes the 200-year history of the quest for the historical Jesus and shows how it has always been related to the search for God. With John Dominic Crossan, Robert Funk, and Marcus Borg, he explores what Jesus meant in the 1st Century and what he means today, but his consistent focus is always on how Jesus experienced and understood God. "What sort of God would one believe in if this God were to be seen in the words and deeds of Jesus?" To this question he develops both a "theology of Jesus" and an "existential Christology.Read more ›
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Ronald on February 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read many books on the historical Jesus, but none that impacted me more profoundly. Dr. Patterson writes with sensitivity and conscience. He explains how his own search for God compels him to pursue the historical Jesus. His chapter entitled, "Is It a Sin to be Liberal," reveals the prejudice and anger one encounters when they engage the search for Jesus of Nazareth. Stephen Patterson emerges from this book as a committed Christian. His exploration of the historical Jesus shows the social conscience of our Jesus and challenges the thoughtful reader to ask, "what am I doing to bring Jesus' dream alive in our world today." I am very thankful that Dr. Patterson took the time to share his personal quest for God.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a superb book. Patterson, more than most, integrates the quest for the Jesus of history and the quest for God. I have learned much from Borg and Crossan and all the others, but Patterson pulls it all together with his own scholarship and love of the subject. His treatment of the parables and his discussion of the "Empire oF God" were especially helpful to me. Too often this subject is too academic, perhaps necessarily so, but Patterson steers us always to the important spiritual and faith questions.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
Patterson's discussion of the "Quest for the historical Jesus" and how this quest actually relates to the human search for God is perhaps the most readable text on the topic. Patterson's text is much more than a dry, academic presentation, his own profound faith combines with strong New Testament scholarship. If one reads this book with an open mind, he or she will find her faith both challenged and strengthened in ways that move beyond the safe, academic environment of seminary and graduate school classrooms into the real world and real life. Patterson also does an excellent job correcting misconceptions and stereotypes about the work of the numerous and diverse scholars who participate in The Jesus Seminar, yet clearly is not afraid to challenge positions of his colleagues when he believes that the evidence warrants a differing conclusion from the consensus.
Those who have not had the wonderful opportunity to study directly under Professor Patterson at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri will discover the warmth and vitality combined with excellent scholarship which have made his classes so very popular.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steve Greif on January 2, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once when attending a local revival as a guest of a friend, I was confronted by the fiery preacher with the question: "Do you know the Lord?" I, somewhat taken back by his zeal, lamely offered the typical liberal response: "Well, yes and no, depends on what you mean by 'the Lord.'" I was immediately "cast into the outer darkness," where "people will weep and gnash their teeth."
After reading this book, I replay that scene. This time I boldly reply, "Yes, if this is what you mean by 'the Lord,'" thrusting a copy into his hands. However, I still think that I would end up weeping and gnashing my teeth.
As a Christian, I have a serious major flaw. I have difficulty confessing that "Jesus is Lord." In my mind that's like saying that my big bother is Lord, something that sibling rivalry prevents me from doing. You see, I don't want to be enthralled by Jesus; rather, I want to be enthralled by what enthralled Jesus. And close to heresy, I don't want to see Jesus as God; but rather, I want to see the God of Jesus. This excellent book goes a long, long way in that direction. I can't recommend it too highly. And as an added bonus, there were parts of it that actually made me laugh out loud! Read it and see. Deserves wide circulation.
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